Knowing Your Rights at the Hospital - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Knowing Your Rights at the Hospital

YAKIMA, Wash.   --  Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital has a patient representative, whose job it is to get involved when there's a disagreement with a doctor, or a diagnosis.

The hospital has certain steps they'll go through, depending on the situation.  Patient Representative Melanie Gilmore says, "I facilitate a meeting with the physician and the family, and they decide."

Ethics committees also meet regularly at Memorial, where doctors discuss tough issues.  Gilmore says as soon as you're admitted, they'll let you know exactly what your rights and responsibilities are.

If you're not in the emergency room, you can always switch doctors.  "We certainly have cases where there are religious preferences, where people don't want blood.  And then the physician can say, 'I don't want to be your physician, because that goes against what I believe.'  And then (the patient) can find another doctor." says Gilmore.

The courts can always get involved, too.  Gilmore says in her 25 years with the hospital, she can't recall that happening.  But they can call CPS, when a doctor and parent have different ideas of how their child should be treated.