Refusing Medical Treatment: What You Need To Know About Your Rights

7 August 2015
 Categories: , Blog


Refusing medical treatment is something many people do not think about. Some may feel like when they walk in the doors they do not have the power to make any decisions regarding their healthcare. However, it is your health and your decision. In certain situations, you are able to refuse medical treatments. In the event that you find yourself in the hospital deciding what the best treatment plan is for you, it is a good idea to take the time to know what rights you have.

Making the Decision

There are stipulations that go with making the decision to refuse treatment. You have to be in sound mind and able to make decisions for yourself. This means obtaining all of the information regarding the treatment and fully understanding what your decision to refuse might mean in regards to side effects and possible outcomes.

You have to choose to refuse medical treatment on your own terms. There shouldn't be pressure from a medical professional, family, or friends for you to choose one option or another. You also have to ensure that all of the information about the treatment has been given in order to make a sound decision. Whether you want to refuse or you wish to move forward with the treatment plan, knowing the thoughts of those around you may be ideal. However, their thoughts and opinions should not sway the way you feel about the treatment plan.

Refusing Medical Care

Those that are under the age of 18 are not able to refuse medical care. Their parents, however, can refuse the care for them if they choose. You are able to refuse treatment for end of life care for religious or personal reasons. There are many reasons why someone may refuse medical treatment and while refusing the treatment might mean death for the individual, the medical professional has to honor the person's wish to not receive medical care for the condition.

Throughout the country, numerous cases go to lawyers' offices because of what may or may not have resulted from refusing treatment or not being fully informed of the procedure at hand. It is important to keep in mind you only have grounds to pursue a medical malpractice case if a doctor gave you treatment you refused or did not properly inform you of all of your options before treating you. To protect medical care providers from medical malpractice lawsuits you will be required to sign paperwork stating that you have refused certain treatments.

Now that you understand what your rights are, you alone get to make decisions regarding your health and medical treatment plans most of the time. Your doctor should only inform you of your options and the possible outcomes. If you are unable to make the decision for medical reasons or you are under 18 a significant other, a parent, or a court appointed guardian may step in to make decisions that are in your best interest for you.

To learn more, speak with a law firm like Bennett & Zydron PC