All rights are inevitably attached to responsibilities. Our rights as patients depend at least in part upon our responsibilities as patients. The rights of patients have been outlined in this unit, but there is no guarantee that we will be freely handed these rights unless we are alert to any possible violation of them and are ready to stand up and defend them. We need to let our legislators know how we feel about health care reform and be watchdogs against greed and fraud in the industry that escalate costs. On a personal level we need to regulate our own lives with self-control, self-discipline and common sense, in order to avoid many of the reasons that bring patients to doctors and hospitals in the first place.
"Despite the superb achievements of medicine, our best hope for a healthy life is not medical care, but self care. Current medical evidence, which implicates violations in lifestyle, environment and diet as the driving forces in chronic disease, shows that many of us are not conducting our lives in a healthy way....This abdication of responsibility undermines the development of healthy attitudes and healthy behavior. Kidding ourselves that we are forever young, or that the doctors will take care of us if something goes wrong, keeps us from doing what we can, learning how to take care of ourselves. It jeopardizes our healtha little more each day." (52)
Reinhard Priester, "Focus on Values in Health Reform",
, March 3, 1992: "A new values framework, reflecting a new blend of ethical priorities, is needed to serve as the moral foundation of our health care system and to guide reform. Community-oriented values should be added to help us break out of the 'narcissistic individualism' that, in the words of one bioethicist, 'makes us forgetful of our interdependence and social connectedness.' We need a value of social advocacy which calls on health care providers to take seriously their obligation to advocate for the needs of underserved people and of society as a whole. We need a value of personal financial responsibility and a value of social solidarity to engender a sense of community." (53)
"Skepticism is the highest of duties, blind faith the one unpardonable sin." Thomas Henry Huxley (54)