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Posted by Betty H. on October 28, 2000 at 07:41:14:

In Reply to: Patient's rights to be informed about his condition posted by Bruce on October 27, 2000 at 20:39:44:

: My good friend and neighbor came down with a serious infection in one knee joint, and possibly in the blood. With the help of another friend, I was able to visit my friend in the hospital. Because we both have had some serious problems with being misdiagnosed and have become skeptical about the competence of some of the local doctors, I asked the nurse what type of bacteria caused the infection and what antibiotic was given to him.(I was a microbiologist at a local hospital for 28 years.)The nurse refused to give me the information and said I would have to check with his doctor. I felt like I could explain everything to my friend and thought it might make him feel better. Because I was acting on behalf of my friend, I strongly feel the nurse should have given me the info. I have read about "patients rights"and I would really like to know what everyone thinks about this situation. Would it be asking to much for a patient to be informed about his condition? I would like to find some documentation regarding this question. Feel free to disagree if that is your opinion. Bruce

I think the nurse was in her rights. Your intentions are good, but she doesn't know that. I'm a nurse & I wouldn't have told you, based on what you've said. I know many who have gotten in trouble with the patient &/or patient's family for divulging such information, and in trouble with the hospital as well. Even some, who first said O K and then changed their mind. There are "patient's rights". Have the patient ask the doctor if he/she will tell/explain to both of you. If the patient is not able, call on a family member. That way you would be able to help your neighbor better understand & get through this difficult time.
Betty H.

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