When you're in the hospital, you have more rights than you probably know. Here's a list, courtesy of patient advocate Trisha Torrey, and Bottom Line Secrets.

  • First, your chart's not a secret. You can read your chart, and get your very own copy.
  • You also have the right to refuse to be observed, examined or treated by anyone, and to ask for someone else. For example, you can ask to be treated by a full-blown doctor instead of a resident. If a lab tech can't draw blood after jabbing your veins several times, you can ask for someone with more experience.
  • Another right hospital patients have: The right to refuse any treatment or medicine.
  • Another hospital right: You have the right to choose your visitors. New federal regulations allow the patient to designate anyone they want to visit - and it doesn't have to just be family.
  • You also have the right to be made as comfortable as possible. So, if the nighttime lighting is too bright, you can ask for it to be dimmed, or switched off. If you want to spend part of your day sitting in a chair - instead of lying in your hospital bed - the staff has to help you.
  • If your hospital roommate keeps you up at night, or otherwise slows your recovery, you have the right to be moved to a different room - if and when the hospital has a vacancy.
  • Finally, you have the right to have an advocate by your side 24/7. It can be a friend or loved one, or you can hire someone to make note of your doctor's instructions, ask questions, and make sure you're getting the right treatment and medicine. You can find a professional advocate at AdvoConnection.com.