Patient Rights

We affirm that our patients have the right:

  1. To reasonable access to care.
  2. To considerate care, provided by competent staff, that safeguards their personal dignity and respects their cultural, psychosocial and spiritual values, as these impact their care.
  3. To the optimal level of pain relief that can be safely given.
  4. To know by name the physicians responsible for their primary care and to be involved in all aspects of their care.
  5. To obtain from their physicians current information concerning their diagnosis, treatment and prognosis in terms they can be reasonably expected to understand.
  6. To receive information from their physicians necessary to give informed consent prior to the start of any procedure and/or treatment. Except in emergencies, such information for informed consent should include, but not necessarily be limited to, the specific procedure and/or treatment, the medically significant risks involved, and the probable length of time they will be incapacitated. When different treatment options exist, patients and/or their representatives have the right to be told what these options are.
  7. To put in writing advance medical directives and appoint a representative to make healthcare decisions on their behalf when they are no longer able to make them themselves.
  8. To participate in care decisions, and not to be subjected to any procedure without their voluntary, competent, and informed consent. If they lack decision-making capacity, the consent of their designated surrogate decision-maker is required.
  9. To refuse treatment to the extent permitted by law, and to be informed of the medical consequences of such refusal.
  10. To request a second opinion or consultation with a specialist.
  11. To request a transfer to another room if another patient or visitor is unreasonably disturbing them.
  12. To request help from the Medical Center's Patient Representative or Ethics Committee should differences arise between them and their physicians, the Medical Center staff, and/or members of their family, in regard to treatment options or other issues. This help may be requested through the physician, a nurse, Social Services or Pastoral Care staff members.
  13. To be treated with respect and dignity when dying. Goals of care are to be consistent with patients' known wishes and directed to keeping them as comfortable and pain free as possible.
  14. To expect that every consideration will be given to safeguard their privacy concerning their medical care/condition. Consultations, examinations and treatments are confidential and will be conducted discreetly. Those not directly involved in the care must have the permission of the patients to be present.
  15. To expect that all communications and records pertaining to their care will be treated as confidential. Their medical records will be reviewed only by individuals directly involved with the care or monitoring of its quality, or authorized by them in writing for other for legal purposes.
  16. To refuse to talk to or see anyone not directly involved with their care, including visitors.
  17. To be placed in protective privacy, when considered necessary for personal safety and have the right to access protective services.
  18. To expect that, within its ability, the Medical Center will make reasonable response to the requests of patients for services. The Medical Center will provide evaluations, services, and/or referrals as indicated by the urgency of the case. When medically permissible and necessary patients may be transferred to another facility, only after they, or their representative, have been given complete information and an explanation of the risks and benefits of such transfers. The healthcare facilities to which patients are to be transferred must first agree to accept the patient before the transfer is made.
  19. To have access to information regarding the relationship of St. Mary's Medical Center to other healthcare and educational organizations insofar as their care is affected. Patients have the right to know what, if any, professional/business relationship exists among individuals who are treating them.
  20. Be advised if their physician proposes to use any type of experimental treatment procedure or medication on them. The physician is to explain the potential risks and benefits of the proposed treatment. The patient's informed consent is required before any such treatment can be started. Patients also have the right to refuse to participate in these research projects.
  21. To be informed of the Medical Center's rules and regulations that apply to their conduct as patients.
  22. To have access to people outside the Medical Center by means of visitors and/or by verbal and written communication. If patients are unable to communicate in English, are deaf, hard of hearing or blind, interpreters and/or mechanical equipment required by their condition are to be made available when possible.
  23. To expect reasonable safety within the practices and environment of the Medical Center. To see that corrective action is taken if indicated when, in their opinion, their rights are not being respected.
  24. To expect reasonable continuity of care and to be informed of the need for any follow-up care after discharge by their physicians or delegates, including details of what, when, where and how to get the needed follow-up.
  25. To examine and receive an explanation of their bill, regardless of the source of payment.

Questions may also be sent via e-mail to St. Mary's Patient Advocate office at