Patient Resources

Patient Rights

Health care providers have a special responsibility to be an advocate for patients and ensure that patients’ rights are protected.

UT Southwestern Medical Center has established specific patient rights and responsibilities to help preserve patients’ comfort and well-being.

Patient Bill of Rights and Responsibilities

Patients have the right to:

  • A reasonable response to requests and need for treatment or services, within UT Southwestern’s capacity, its stated missions, and applicable law
  • Considerate and respectful care with the assurance of privacy, confidentiality, and reasonable continuity
  • Be informed of hospital rules and receive information about the hospital’s patient bill of rights, its policies, and its mechanism for the initiation, review, and, when possible, resolution of patient complaints concerning the quality of care
  • Be given an explanation of billed services
  • Make or have the representative (as allowed under state law), in collaboration with the physician, make informed decisions regarding the patient’s care
  • Be informed of health status, be involved in treatment and discharge planning, and be able to request to refuse treatment
  • Collaborate with physicians and accept medical care or refuse treatment to the extent permitted by law and be informed of the medical consequences of such refusal
  • Participate in ethical questions that arise in the course of care
  • Formulate advance directives and appoint a surrogate to make health care decisions on the patient’s behalf to the extent permitted by law, and have hospital staff and practitioners who provide care in the hospital comply with these directives
  • Be informed about any human experimentation or other research or educational projects affecting care or treatment
  • Have a family member, friend, or personal physician notified promptly of any admissions to the hospital, if patients so request
  • Receive care in a safe setting that is free from all forms of abuse or harassment
  • Access information contained in medical records within a reasonable time frame, while also maintaining confidentiality of patients’ medical records within the limits of the law
  • Be free from seclusion or restraints of any form, whether a physical restraint or a drug, that are not medically necessary or that are used as a means of coercion, discipline, convenience, or retaliation by staff
  • Have the nature, intensity, frequency, location, and duration of pain and suffering assessed and appropriately managed
  • Have the guardian, next of kin, or legally authorized responsible person exercise, to the extent permitted by law, the rights delineated on the patient’s behalf if the patient is a minor, is medically incapable of understanding the proposed treatment in the opinion of the patient’s physician, is unable to communicate his/her wishes regarding treatment, or has been found incompetent in accordance with the law
  • Receive respectful and effective communication provided in a way the patient can understand, including access to interpreters and translation services, and to receive written information that is appropriate to the patient’s age, understanding, and needs due to vision, speech, hearing, language, or cognitive impairments
  • Have spiritual services available to help the patient directly or to contact the patient’s own clergy

Patients have the responsibility to:

  • Provide complete and accurate information regarding personal information, such as full legal name, address, telephone number, date of birth, Social Security number, health insurance coverage, and employer when required, and pay bills in a timely manner; also to provide complete and accurate information regarding health and medical history such as present condition, past illnesses, changes in condition, hospital stays, medications, and vitamins
  • Provide the hospital or the doctor with a copy of the advance directive, if the patient has one
  • Leave valuables at home and bring only the necessary items for the hospital stay
  • Remain free of the influence of or possession of illegal drugs, alcohol, or a weapon while on the premises of this facility
  • Refrain from operating hospital equipment without specific staff education and appropriate supervision
  • Follow infection control procedures, both for patients and their visitors, and learn about health issues and treatment
  • Actively participate in the pain management plan and inform medical staff of the effectiveness of the treatment
  • Comply with all physicians’ requests and acknowledge that patients’ failure to comply with treatment times or schedules, medications, diet and fluid restrictions, and other orders might correlate with declining health or possibly death
  • Cooperate with the staff member assigned to provide care for the patient; if patients are uncomfortable with a specific staff member assigned to their care, they should notify the manager of their concern(s)

Patients and their families must be considerate of hospital and clinic staff and property, as well as the rights of other patients and their property. University Hospitals and hospital-based clinics maintain no tolerance for any threats, threatening behavior, or acts of violence by patients, their family members, visitors, volunteers, or employees.