Optimal patient care varies considerably from place to place and is influenced by scientific as well as social developments. The purpose of this study was to investigate awareness and pertinent issues regarding informed consent among hospitalised patients and to determine lapses, in order to improve the standard of care.
Recognition and articulation of patient rights are core issues in the medical jurisprudence of most nations. While the nature of rights in medical care may vary from country to country, reflecting the idiosyncrasies of domestic law and health delivery, there are commonalities in this area of law that cut across borders. This paper presents five case studies in the patient rights area from Malaysia, Ireland, South Africa, Indonesia and the United States, respectively. The case discussions range from ongoing and fundamental concerns over broad patient rights issues, such as access to health care and informed consent, to rights concerns of those suffering from HIV/AIDS, to a novel consideration over ethical and legal issues concerning ownership of infant organs. It is the hope of the authors that individually, and collectively, the cases will provide helpful insights into this core area of medical law.