Veterinary Client Rights

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     Your Rights as a Client at a Veterinary Clinic 

Some of these rights are legal and some are just ethical rights, but you should make sure you are given these when dealing with a clinic (of any sorts including medical doctors).

You have the right to privacy for you and your pet. The data you give to staff or the veterinarian is private and not to be given out to other clients or people not employees working on the patient except with your permission. Obviously, other veterinarians and lab personnel might have to be consulted for the purposes of diagnosis and treatment of your beloved friend.

You have the right of "informed consent". This means that you are to be told ALL the risks as well as benefits of any diagnostic test or treatment (including prescription medicines). This often isn't done as fully as could be as doctors can be very very busy and don't take the time to explain all side effects. If you do not get this explained to you, then make sure to ask.

You have the right to the data in your pet's medical file and can request copies for yourself or another veterinarian. This includes getting copies of radiographs. The veterinarian can charge you for the copies, but you have the right to get them.

You have the right to chose where you get your prescription medications and supplements and flea products. The veterinarian does have the right to charge for the writing or calling in of the prescription, though, if you chose to use an on-line or other pharmacy than the clinic itself.

You have the right to get your questions answered and to get data on your pet's condition whether the pet is an out-patient or hospitalized. The main complaint sent to Boards of Veterinary Medicine is poor or lack of communication. Be sure you find a veterinarian you can communicate with freely and openly to your satisfaction. Different people get along better with different people, so chose someone that suits you.

You have the right to decline offered treatments and tests, but may be required to sign a release form if the veterinarian recommends them for the benefit of the pet and you choose not to do them. You also, can request further testing and even a referral to a specialist if you desire.

And most important , you have the right to love your pet and expect the best possible care for him or her.

There are probably additional rights, but these are the most important ones. If you have any questions, you can always consult the Board of Veterinary Medicine in your state or area on current regulations and rights.

RECOMMENDED READING: To learn about your own rights on a worldwide basis see the following site which goes over the Universal Declaration of Human Rights written and signed by 25 countries in the wake of World War II.

Until next time,

Dr. Jan

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