Each individual in society shall respect the dignity of others. To be treated with dignity is even more important for the sick and suffering. Dignity of mankind is one of the basic doctrines of the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran making it obligatory for the government to provide health/medical services for everyone. The rights of patients stem from this value that is enshrined in Iranian constitution.
This charter has been developed with respect to human values based on Islamic and Iranian culture to protect the dignity of all health service recipients. The charter’s objective is to promote human relations between providers and recipients of health services. The charter grants the following rights to every patient.
1. Each patient has a right to receive basic health services. The provision of such health service should be:
1-1) respectful to an individual’s dignity and cultural and religious beliefs.
1-2) based on honesty, fairness, and compassion.
1-3) based on current knowledge and practices.
1-4) in the best interest of the patient.
1-5) mindful of the medical priorities of patients and health resources should be distributed in a justifiable manner.
1-6) inclusive of such fundamentals of healthcare as prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation.
1-7) associated with provision of welfare facilities without causing pain, suffering, and unnecessary restrictions.
1-8) especially mindful of the rights of vulnerable groups of society such as children, pregnant women, senile, mental patients, prisoners, mentally and physically handicapped, and the unattended individuals.
1-9) provided in a speedy manner valuing a patient’s time.
1-10) considerate of variables such as language, gender, and age of patients.
1-11) provided with no attention to costs in cases of medical emergency.
1-12) in emergency cases, able to arrange for the transfer of patient to better equipped units after providing necessary first aid and explanations.
1-13) in terminal cases, comforting to the patients and easing their and their loved ones’ suffering and considerate toward the psychological, emotional, and social needs of the patient’s families. The dying patient is entitled to be accompanied by a person that the patient wishes to be with.
2 Basic data must be available to the patient.
2-1) The contents of basic information shall include the following:
2-1-1) Contents of patient’s rights charter on the date of his/her admission.
2-1-2) Anticipated hospital criteria and expenses including medical and non-medical services, insurance regulations and introducing supportive systems on time of admission.
2-1-3) Name, responsibility and professional ranks of the attending medical staff providing care services including physicians, nurses and interns and their professional relationships
2-1-4) Diagnostic and medical procedures, strong and weak points of each procedure and their possible side effects, diagnosis, prognosis and symptoms of disease and entire information that affects the process of making decision regarding the patient.
2-1-5) Accessibility to attending physician and the main members of medical group during treatment procedure.
2-1-6) The entire actions that have research quality.
2-1-7) Providing the necessary education for continuation of the treatment.
2-2) The information must be provided as follows:
2-2-1) Information shall be available to the patient in suitable time considerate to the patient’s condition including anxiety, pain and personal characteristics including language and perception power unless:
- Providing information mentioned above would cause delay in starting the medical treatment and cause harm to the patient (in case of discoursing information after urgent acts, it shall be done at the first suitable time.)
- The patient, despite being aware of his/her right of receiving information refrains from receiving it in which case, the patient’s wish must be respected unless patient’s lack of information put him/her or others in risk.
2-2-2) The patient will have access to the entire information registered in his/her clinical file and receive it; and can ask for correcting any mistakes in it.
3 The right of free selection and decision making by the patient in receiving health services must be respected.
3-1) The scope of selection and making decisions must be in the following items:
3-1-1) selecting the attending physicians and the center that provides health services in the framework of the criteria.
3-1-2) Selection and seeking the view of the second physician as consultant.
3-1-3) Participation or non-participation in biological researches with the certainty that his/her decision making will have no effects in the continuity and procedure of receiving health services.
3-1-4) Acceptance or rejection of the proposed treatments after knowledge on the possible symptoms caused by acceptance or rejection of the treatments unless in suicides or cases when withdrawing from treatment would put another person in serious risk.
3-1-5) Expressing the previous view of the patient on the future medical treatments when that patient has the capacity of making decisions and registering that view as a guideline of medical treatments in case of the absence of his/her decision making capacity to replace the patient’s decision by observing legal regulations considered by health service providers.
3-2) The conditions of selecting and making decisions shall contain following items:
3-2-1) Selection and making decision by the patient shall be free and based on knowledge, on the ground of receiving sufficient and comprehensive information (in clause 2).
3-2-2) The patient must be given sufficient time for making decisions after presenting him/her the information.
4 Providing health services must be based on respect to private space of the patient and observing the principles of confidentiality.
4-1) Observing the principle of confidentiality on all information related to the patient is mandatory unless in the cases when the law has excluded it.
4-2) In all stages of care, including diagnostic and medical, the private space of the patient shall be respected. To do so, the entire necessary equipment must be provided for the patient to keep his/her private space.
4-3) Only the patient, medical staff and authorized persons from the patient and individuals that are legally authorized to have access to information. Being accompanied with an adult with him/her is necessary unless otherwise is required in medical procedures.
5 It is the patient’s right to have access to efficient system to investigate his/her complaints.
5-1) Any patient is entitled to lodge complaints before concerned officials in claim of breach of his/her rights, subject of this charter, without disturbing the quality of receiving health services.
5-2) Patients are entitled to become aware of the investigation procedures and results of their complaints.
5-3) Damages caused by the mistake of health service providers shall be compensated in the shortest time possible after investigations and proof in accordance with the regulations.
In execution of the contents of this charter, if the patient is incapable to make decisions for any reasons, exercising the entire rights of the patient - as mentioned in this charter - will be the duty of legal decision-makers that replace him. If another decision-maker, contrary to the view of attending physician prevents medical treatment, the attending physician will be entitled to request for revising the decision making. If the patient lacks sufficient capacity to make decisions, but is able to make reasonable decisions on parts of medical procedure, his/her decision must be respected.