Q5- Why is there a need to protect the right to know?

The current Medical Care Act states: “Medical care institutions shall explain … to the patient or his/her legal agent, spouse, kin, or interested party, and must obtain his/her consent….” This seemingly appropriate statement actually hinders the medical team from explaining the patient’s condition to himself/herself, and often does not reveal the whole truth. Both having a patient who does not know his own health condition and family members who are not able to have a meaningful conversation with the patients are not only a waste of extremely valuable and short remaining time, but also a failure to provide for the patient to fulfill his last wishes. Although this Medical Care Act arose out of the love to patients, it has often ended up wasting precious time and causing regrets to both the living and the dead.

Patient Right to Autonomy Act, on the other hand, has a clear patient-centered position to protect patients’ right to know by stating that patients have the right to know the diagnosis, medical options, and the consequences and risks that follow. Only when patients do not strongly express objection can the medical team inform the patients’ personal medical information with other related parties.