Kidney School™—a program of Medical Education Institute, Inc.

Module 14—Patient Rights and Responsibilities

Sheep farm

There is an old tale about twin brothers who were orphaned as infants. An uncle adopted the boys, but was so poor that he could barely feed them.

One day, when the boys were grown, a finely dressed man came to their home. He said he had spent years searching for them. He told the boys that their father had entrusted him with a deed to many acres of land he owned, and that he'd promised to hold it for the boys until they were of age. He kept his promise by giving them the deed.

The boys could hardly believe they now had rights to many acres of land. They were no longer poor! But each had his own ideas about how to use their rights. One wanted to sell the land and live off the profits. The other wanted to farm the land and build a homestead. So, they split the land in two and each followed his desires.

Before long, the brother who sold his land ran out of money. But the brother who farmed his land was doing well. Both brothers had the same land rights—but only one used his rights in a responsible way.

This story teaches us a lesson. Each role we take on in life, as worker, parent, patient, or homeowner, carries some rights. But our rights can only work in our favor if we use them responsibly. You can think of rights and responsibilities as balancing each other on a scale.

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You may not have thought about it before, but being a person on dialysis means you have certain rights. Knowing what these rights are can help you to:

  • Get the best care.
  • Know key facts about your health.
  • Make good decisions about your treatment.
  • Be treated in the manner you deserve.

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