The Rights of a Patient in Israel
Hebrew: זכויות המטופל בישראל
The Patient's Right Act was passed in 1996. Every person who requests medical care or who is in receipt of medical care, and to protect his dignity and privacy in Israel, has the following rights:
The right to medical care
- Every person in need of medical care is entitled to receive it in accordance with all laws and regulations and the conditions and arrangements at any given time in the Israeli health care system.
- In a medical emergency, a person is entitled to receive emergency medical care unconditionally.
- No medical facility or clinician shall discriminate between patients on grounds of religion, race, sex, nationality, country of birth, or other such grounds.
- A patient shell be entitled to proper medical care, having regard both to its professionalism and quality, and to the personal relations incorporated in it.
- A patient is entitled to be informed of the identity and position of every person treating him.
- The Director-General shall issue directions as to the way clinicians and every worker in a medical facility shall be identified.
- The patient is entitled to obtain, at his own initiative, a second opinion as to his medical care; the clinician and the medical facility shall give the patient all the assistance he requires to fulfill this right.
- Should a patient have transferred from one clinician facility to another, he shall be entitled, at his request, to the cooperation of ensure proper continuity of care.
- A patient hospitalized in a medical facility is entitled to receive visitors at the times, and according to the arrangements, determined by the facility director.
- The clinician, all those working under his direction, and all other workers in the medical facility, shall maintain the dignity and privacy of the patient at all stages of his treatment. The facility director shall issue directions for maintaining the dignity and privacy of patients in his facility.
- Should a clinician or a medical facility be requested to give medical treatment to a person in circumstances indicating, a medical emergency or grave danger, the clinician shall examine and treat the person to the best of his ability.
- Should the clinician or medical facility be unable to provide treatment to the patient, they shall, to the best of their ability, refer him to a place where he can receive appropriate treatment.
- The facility director shall make appropriate arrangements for the implementation of the provisions of this clause.
- All patients applying to an Emergency Dept. are entitled to medical examination by a physician.
- Should the examining physician find that the patient requires urgent medical treatment, he shall give the patient that treatment; however, if the patient requires treatment that cannot be given at that place, the Emergency Dept. physician shall refer the patient to an appropriate medical facility, and shall ensure, to the best of his ability, that the patient is transferred to that facility.
- The director of a medical facility containing an Emergency Dept. shall make appropriate arrangements for the implementation of the provisions of this Clause.
Informed Consent to Medical Care
No medical care shall be given unless and until the patient has given his informed consent to it, in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. In order to obtain informed consent, the clinician shall supply the patient medical information to a reasonable extent, such as to enable the patient to decide whether to agree to the treatment proposed; for this purpose, "medical information” includes:
- The diagnosis of the patient's medical condition and its prognosis;
- A description of the essence, course, goal, anticipated benefit, and likelihood of success of the treatment proposed;
- The risks entailed in the proposed treatment, including side effects, pain, and discomfort;
- The likelihood of success and the risks of alternative forms of treatment, and of non-treatment;
- Where the treatment is innovatory, the patient shall be so informed.
- The clinician shall furnish the medical information to the patient at the earliest possible stage and in a manner that maximizes the ability of the patient to understand the information and to make a free and independent choice.
- The clinician may withhold medical information from the patient concerning his medical condition if an Ethics Committee has confirmed that giving this information is likely to cause severe harm to the patient’s mental or physical health.
The way in which Informed Consent May Be Given
- Informed consent may be given verbally, in writing, or demonstrated by the patient’s behavior.
- Informed consent to one of the treatments enumerated in the Supplement to this Act shall be given by means of a written document, that shall include a summary of the explanation given the patient.
- Should a patient require one of the treatments enumerated in the Supplement to this Act and be unable to give his informed consent in writing, his shall give his consent before two witnesses, provided that the consent and the evidence of the witnesses be put in writing as soon as possible aft.
- In a medical emergency, informed consent to one of the treatments enumerated in the Supplement to this Act may be given verbally, provided that the consent be put into writing as soon as possible afterwards.
Medical Care Without Consent
A clinician may give medical treatment that is not one of the treatments enumerated in the Supplement to this Act without the informed consent of the patient, if all the following conditions are met:
- The patient’s physical or mental state does not permit obtaining his informed consent;
- The clinician has not been made aware that the patient of his legal guardian objects to his receiving medical treatment;
- It is impossible to obtain the consent of the patient’s representative, should such a representative have been appointed under Clause 16 of this Act, or of the patient’s legal guardian, where the patient is a minor or an incapacitated person.
- Should the patient be deemed to be in grave danger but reject medical treatment, which in the circumstances must be given soon, the clinician may preform the treatment against the patient’s will, if an Ethics Committee has confirmed that all the following conditions obtain:
- The patient has received information as required to make an informed choice;
- The treatment is anticipated to significantly improve the patient’s medical condition;
- There are reasonable grounds to suppose that, after receiving treatment, the patient will give his retroactive consent.
- In a medical emergency a clinician may give urgent medical treatment without the patient’s informed consent if, because of the emergency circumstances, including the patient’s physical or mental state, it is not possible to obtain his informed consent; a treatment cited in the Supplement to this Act shall be given with the consent of three physicians, unless the emergency circumstances do not permit this.
Appointment of a Patient’s Representative
- A patient may appoint an official representative who shall have the authority to consent in his place to medical treatment; the power of attorney shall detail the circumstances and conditions in which the representative shall have the authority to consent in place of the patient to medical treatment.
- The Minister may issue directions as to the manner in which a power of attorney may be given under this Clause.
The law is extensive and in addition includes the following topics
- Medical Records and Medical Information
- Investigative Committee
- Control and Quality Committee
- Responsibility for the Observance of Patients' Rights in a Medical Facility
- Provisions with regard to the Security Forces
- Amendments and other miscellaneous clauses and information
The Society for Patients Rights
The Society for Patients Rights in Israel is a non-profit organization which helps patients and their families claim their health-care rights and obtain necessary services from the health plans, hospitals and other medical facilities. Their website details all of the above rights of a patient in Israel. They have an extensive English section.
Medical & Health Resources