Terminal Patient Rights

Over recent years, several countries and international organizations, this issue has worked with special interest due to increased pressure from the movements of Euthanasia and physician assisted suicide. There is  a moral need to provide better care for terminally ill patients because many of  them feel they are losing autonomy and they fear that their pains are not controlled.

However,the issue has earlier history.In 1945, the  general assembly of the United  Nations, in  the Universal Declaration of  human rights,refers to the dying,(Article 25), also in the 1966 UN´s International Covenant on Civil  and Political Rigths, a  quote regarding terminal ill (Articles 7 and 27). In the World Medical Assembly, Helsinki 1964 and Tokyo 1975, they  referred to  the care of dying patients. In the Lisbon Declaration of 1981, Patient´s Rights were implemented. In 1975, The American Association published his "Patient´s  Bill of Rights" which was revised in 1992. The  American Medical Association  presented to  the congress of  the United  States the so called "Patient Rights" in 1999, where the American Medical Association insisted that these rigths must be implemented to protect patients. At the  NationalInstitute of Health of USA it was made an  important analysis of patient rights in December  1998. The member societies of  the World Federation of The right to  die, have developed their "Terminal Patient´s Rights"according to the standards of each country. In November 1991, The  Ministry of  Health of  Colombia adopted Resolution 13437 on Patient´s Rights.

Let´s keep in mind that death is the biggest transition in life, at  times, terrifying and hard in a diying patient; this patient is often uninformed, feels insecure, anxious, depressed, hopeless, in pain and whith multiple symptoms according to the disease. These experiences at the end of life are usually less recognized and treated. The essential thing is to understand that the  terminal patient is in particulary vulnerable situation, it  takes all of humanity and compassion to ease the  moment, and compassion to ease the moment,  and allow accepting whit more resignation the end of his life as an inescapable fact.

We believe that in Colombia there are major limitations to obtain necessary care for the dying, by  economic, cultural and geographical.

Patient  autonomy there to  have it in mind, must be well informed and be given the opportunity t  make your living ( document " this is my will"of the foundation DMD) and present it in case of hospitalization.


Terminal Patient Rights

  1. The patient  has the  right to maintain until the end of his days with the same dignity and autonomy which has been entitled in life
  2. The  patient is entitled to accurate, full and frank abut yur diagnosis, treatment options and prognosis.
  3. The patient has the  rigth to  be cared for by professionals sensitive to  their needs and fears in the  process of approaching death,  but competend in their field and unsure what to do.
  4. The patient has the  right to  be the  centerpiece of  the decisions taken at the  final stage of his  life.
  5. The  patietnt has the  right not suffering idenfinitely, or for application and heroic extreme measures to sustain their vital  functions.
  6. El paciente tiene derecho a obtener alivio efectivo de su dolor y de sus síntomas, aun si los medicamentos o medidas requeridas para ello le redujeran el tiempo de vida restante.
  7. El paciente tiene derecho a que las necesidades y temores de sus seres queridos sean tenidos en cuenta antes y después de su muerte.
  8. El paciente tiene derecho a recibir asistencia espiritual siempre que lo solicite y a que le sean respetadas sus creencias religiosas, cualesquiera que sean.
  9. El paciente tiene derecho a conocer y recibir explicaciones sobre los costos de los servicios recibidos. En situación de urgencia, se le debe atender sin exigir pago previo.
  10. El paciente tiene derecho a morir con dignidad, tan Confortable y apaciblemente como sea posible.