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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


MIRA, José Joaquín; LORENZO, Susana; VITALLER, Julián  and  GUILABERT, Mercedes. Patients' rights: More than a question of attitude. Gac Sanit [online]. 2010, vol.24, n.3, pp.247-250. ISSN 0213-9111.

Objectives: To analyze hospital and primary care physicians' knowledge of certain patients' rights recently modified by Spanish Law 41/2002 (law of patient autonomy). Material and methods: We performed a voluntary survey of hospital and primary care physicians who were presented with three problem situations drawn from court decisions and the law of patient autonomy. Results: Among interviewed physicians, 78% were familiar with the law of patient autonomy. Fifty-three percent knew how to explain what advance wills are. Eighty-eight percent responded correctly to the problem situation concerning the right to privacy. Fifty-seven percent knew the legal age of consent for healthcare. Seventy percent correctly applied patients' right not to be informed. Only 38% responded correctly to all three problem situations. Correct responses were more frequent (odds ratio: 2.4-3.4) among physicians who were familiar with the law of patient autonomy. Conclusions: At least one out of every 10 physicians could be legally compromised by lack of knowledge of the law of patient autonomy. Patients' rights were most likely to be jeopardized in patients aged between 16 and 18 years old. Prior information on the law of patient autonomy contributes to greater compliance.

Keywords : Patients' rights; Health professionals' legal safety.

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