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Texas patients have rights to quality care and informed consent

When you visit a physician or health care facility in Texas, you have certain rights under state and federal law. These include the right to have your health care information kept private. You also have the right to quality health care. Doctors and hospitals are held to the standard of care of competent practitioners in their field of specialty.

Another important patient right is that of informed consent. This right means that before agreeing to a medical procedure or course of treatment, the doctor has the obligation to explain the benefits and risks to you. For example, if the doctor is recommending surgery to treat a condition, the doctor should inform you of the benefits of the surgery as well as the potential risks if something should go wrong. If the doctor wants to prescribe a specific medication, the doctor should inform you of potential side effects. Armed with this information as to risks and benefits, you can then give your informed consent to the treatment.

When health care providers fail to meet the standard of care of practitioners in their field, or when they fail to obtain a patient's informed consent to a procedure, they may be held liable for medical malpractice if an injury, worsened condition or death results. If the patient survives they can seek compensation for increased medical expenses, loss of income, pain, suffering, disability and other losses.

If a patient dies due to medical malpractice, surviving family members can bring a wrongful death action against the doctor or hospital and recover for their loss. The damages that can be recovered include loss of financial support and loss of companionship.

Source: WebMD.com, "Patient Rights and HIPAA - Topic Overview," accessed on Jan. 19, 2015

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