Yes, the Charter of Patients Rights by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare envisages responsibilities and duties1 to be undertaken by patients and their caregivers when interacting with medical practitioners or doctors. Patients have the duty to:
- Provide all relevant health-related information to the doctor, completely and truthfully to facilitate correct treatment
- Cooperate with the doctor in tests and diagnostics and following their advice, while remembering their own right to choose the course of treatment
- Patients should be compassionate towards others seeking treatment near them. They should maintain discipline and avoid creating disturbance for other patients. They should also not litter and keep the hospital clean.
- If a patient has a grievance, it must be presented respectfully, keeping in mind the dignity of the doctors and hospital staff. Patients or their caregivers should not resort to violence or damage hospital property as they will incur criminal liability for such actions. If such violent acts are done with government medical personnel, it will amount to violence caused to a public servant. Some instances are:
- Obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions2 that they are responsible for. Such obstruction may be physical or by any other means. You may face jail time upto 3 months or fine of INR 500 or both.
- Threat of injury to public servant3 to force them to do something or forbid or delay them in doing something which pertains to their public function. You may face jail time upto 2 years or fine or both.
- Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from duty4. You may face jail time upto 3 years or fine or both.
- Voluntarily causing grievous hurt to deter public servant from duty. 5 You may face jail time upto 10 years or fine or both.
- Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duty. You may face jail time upto 2 years or fine or both.6
In addition, the latest ordinance by the Government of India enumerates ‘acts of violence’7, which if done by any person to a healthcare service personnel, will be punishable with a jail term up to 5 years, with fine. 8 It also expressly prohibits violence against healthcare service personnel during an epidemic.9
- Annexure 8, Clinical Establishments Act, 2010 (Standards for Hospital Level 1A & 1B)
- Section 186, Indian Penal Code, 1860
- Section 189, Indian Penal Code, 1860
- Section 332, Indian Penal Code, 1860
- Section 333, Indian Penal Code, 1860
- Section 353, Indian Penal Code, 1860
- The Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020
- Section 6, The Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020
- Section 5, The Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020