In addition to a selection of general papers addressing a range of global health concerns from a right to health perspective, the issue includes a themed section on Human Rights in Patient Care, co-edited by the Open Society Foundations. Below, we’ve posted the full text of the issue’s Introduction, written by guest editor Tamar Ezer, the Senior Program Officer at the Law and Health Initiative of the Public Health Program at the Open Society Foundations. We join HHR in encouraging readers to share and discuss this new issue and its important articles, and in welcoming new submissions and involvement with the journal’s blog.
A man with mental disabilities is locked up in a mental health facility, forcibly medicated, and held in unhygienic conditions.
Hospital staff publicly disclose a patient’s HIV status.
A drug user is denied anesthesia during a medical operation.
The doctor at a health care facility refuses to treat a sex worker, throwing her out with a gaping wound.
Women living with HIV, Roma women, women with disabilities, and transgender persons are sterilized without their consent.
Unfortunately, these abuses of patients are not uncommon. At the same time, health care providers may also face rights violations themselves, such as unsafe working conditions or government sanctions for providing evidence-based care.
This issue of Health and Human Rights has a themed section on these concerns. The articles explore various facets of “human rights in patient care,” or the application of human rights principles to the context of patient care. The first piece, which Jonathan Cohen and I co-authored, lays out the human rights in patient care framework. It provides a typology of critical human rights applicable to patients and providers and differentiates the concept of human rights in patient care from other paradigms commonly applied to health care settings, such as the right to health (which overlaps with human rights in patient care in certain ways), patients’ rights, patient safety, and bioethics.