The Patient’s Rights Law was approved by the Knesset on May 1, 1996. The law has come to define the relationship between people requiring treatment and doctors and other medical professionals. The following statement appears in the first paragraph of the law: “This law’s purpose is to define the rights of a person requesting medical treatment or receiving medical treatment and to protect his dignity and privacy.”
Medical treatment is a partnership between the patient and the medical team. The assumption upon which the Patient’s Rights Law is based is that the patient is an intelligent person generally capable of asserting his right to receive proper medical treatment. The following protections are guidelines that emerge from this law and others, and from directives issued by the Misrad Habriut to protect the patient’s dignity and privacy.
Anyone who is examined is entitled to have an additional person present, a person of his/her choice or an employee, when the examination is being performed.
A patient has the right to refuse the presence of and/or examination by a student while the patient is receiving medical treatment.
In general, both parents have rights to information regarding a child’s treatment, and giving consent, and the parent on hand is usually sufficient to make decisions and/or represent the will of the other parent. However, there may be mitigating legal or other circumstances. The Ministry of Health has published precise instructions about health service providers making information accessible to both parents, and when the consent of one or the other must be requested.
The obligation to maintain confidentiality regarding the treatment given to the patient is the foundation upon which the patient’s trust in the doctor is based. Both the Privacy Protection Law and the Patient’s Rights Law require guarding medical information. These laws are applicable for anyone treating a patient and not solely for doctors. The importance for these rules is clear; for example, the damage that might be done to an individual in certain communities if knowledge of her having an abortion was publicly known or if the facts of a businessman’s illness were known to his associates.
The Patient’s Rights Law distinctly establishes the obligation for medical confidentiality and only permits transfer of information to a third party in the follow circumstances:
Take caution when signing a “Written Medical Confidentiality Waiver (Vasar)”, as it can mean the following: