Declaration of Lisbon on The Rights of The Patient
Right to medical care of good quality
Every person is entitled without discrimination to appropriate medicalcare.
Every patient has the right to be cared for by a physician whom he/she knows to be
free to make clinical and ethical judgements without any outside interference.
The patient shall always be treated in accordance with his/her best interests. The
treatment applied shall be in accordance with generally approved medical principles.
Quality assurance always should be a part of health care. Physicians, in particular,
should accept responsibility for being guardians of the quality of medical services.
In circumstances where a choice must be made between potential patients for a
particular treatment which is in limited supply, all such patients are entitled to a fair
selection procedure for that treatment. That choice must be based on medical criteria
and made without discrimination.
The patient has the right of continuity of health care. The physician has an obligation
to cooperate in the coordination of medically indicated care with other health care
providers treating the patient. The physician may not discontinue treatment of a patient
as long as further treatment is medically indicated, without giving the patient
reasonable assistance and sufficient opportunity to make alternative arrangements for
Right to freedom of choice
The patient has the right to choose freely and change his/her physician and hospital or
health service institution, regardless of whether they are based in the private or public
The patient has the right to ask for the opinion of another physician at any stage.
Right to self-determination
The patient has the right to self-determination, to make free decisions regarding
himself/herself. The physician will inform the patient of the consequences of his/her
A mentally competent adult patient has the right to give or withhold consent to any
diagnostic procedure or therapy. The patient has the right to the information necessary
to make his/her decisions. The patient should understand clearly what is the purpose
of any test or treatment, what the results would imply, and what would be the
implications of withholding consent.
The patient has the right to refuse to participate in research or theteaching of medicine.
The unconscious patient
If the patient is unconscious or otherwise unable to express his/her will, informed
consent must be obtained whenever possible, from a legally entitled representative
where legally relevant.
If a legally entitled representative is not available, but a medical intervention is
urgently needed, consent of the patient may be presumed, unless it is obvious and
beyond any doubt on the basis of the patient‘s previous firm expression or conviction
that he/she would refuse consent to the intervention in that situation.
However, physicians should always try to save the life of a patient unconscious due to
a suicide attempt.
The legally incompetent patient
If a patient is a minor or otherwise legally incompetent the consent of a legally entitled
representative, where legally relevant, is required. Nevertheless the patient must be
involved in the decision making to the fullest extent allowed by his/her capacity.
If the legally incompetent patient can make rational decisions, his/her decisions must
be respected, and he/she has the right to forbid the disclosure of information to his/her
legally entitled representative.
If the patient‘s legally entitled representative, or a person authorized by the patient,
forbids treatment which is, in the opinion of the physician, in the patient’s best
interest, the physician should challenge this decision in the relevant legal or other
institution. In case of emergency, the physician will act in the patient‘s best interest.
Procedures against the patient's will
Diagnostic procedures or treatment against the patient‘s will can be carried out only in
exceptional cases, if specifically permitted by law and conforming to the principles of
Right to information
The patient has the right to receive information about himself/herself recorded in any
of his/her medical records, and to be fully informed about his/her health status
including the medical facts about his/her condition. However, confidential information
in the patient‘s records about a third party should not be given to the patient without
the consent of that third party.
Exceptionally, information may be withheld from the patient when there is good reason
to believe that this information would create a serious hazardto his/her life or health.
Information must be given in a way appropriate to the local culture and in such a way
that the patient can understand.
The patient has the right not to be informed on his/her explicit request, unless required
for the protection of another person‘s life.
The patient has the right to choose who, if anyone, should be informed on his/her
Right to confidentiality
All identifiable information about a patient‘s health status, medical condition,
diagnosis, prognosis and treatment and all other information of a personal kind, must
be kept confidential, even after death. Exceptionally, descendants may have a right of
access to information that would inform them of their health risks.
Confidential information can only be disclosed if the patient gives explicit consent or if
expressly provided for in the law. Information can be disclosed to other health care
providers only on a strictly “need to know” basis unless the patient has given
All identifiable patient data must be protected. The protection of the data must be
appropriate to the manner of its storage. Human substances from which identifiable
data can be derived must be likewise protected.
Right to Health Education Every person has the right to health education that will assist
him/her in making informed choices about personal health and about the available
health services. The education should include information about healthy lifestyles and
about methods of prevention and early detection of illnesses. The personal
responsibility of everybody for his/her own health should be stressed. Physicians
have an obligation to participate actively in educational efforts.
Right to dignity The patient‘s dignity and right to privacy shall be respected at all
times in medical care and teaching, as shall his/her culture and values.
The patient is entitled to relief of his/her suffering according to the current state of knowledge.
The patient is entitled to humane terminal care and to be provided with all available assistance in making dying as dignified and comfortable as possible.
Right to religious assistance The patient has the right to receive or to decline spiritual and moral comfort including the help of a minister of his/her chosen religion.