Patient Rights & Responsibilities

Please note, if you need assistance reviewing the following information, please contact MUSC Health Interpreter Services at 843-792-5078.


To acknowledge patients’ rights and responsibilities and the Medical Center’s responsibility to respond to each patient with personal dignity and respect in a smoke-free environment.

Our patients have the right to considerate, respectful care at all times and under all circumstances. MUSC Medical Center develops and implements policies which respect the rights of all patients regardless of age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression.

 Our mission at MUSC Medical Center is to provide excellence in patient care, teaching and research in an environment that is respectful of others, adaptive to change and accountable for outcomes. As part of our teaching mission, residents and students may participate in your care along with your attending physician, registered nurses and other caregivers. Please speak with your nurse or doctor if you have any concerns.

MUSC Medical Center provides Patient Rights and Responsibilities information to each inpatient, outpatient, and/or family, patient spokesperson or legal guardian. If the patient, patient spokesperson or legal guardian is unable to understand English, medical center personnel will ensure the patient receives information in a way they can understand.

Patient Rights

Personal Spokesperson, Visitation & Communication

  • Patient's Personal Spokesperson: Each patient should choose a personal Spokesperson. The Spokesperson does not have to be a blood relative of the patient. This Spokesperson has full visitation rights and should be involved in the patient’s plan of care; decisions regarding their healthcare (unless another person has been given this authority as a court-appointed guardian, by a power of attorney, or by an advanced directive), the patient’s pain management program, and the patient’s discharge process. The patient Spokesperson should also help to coordinate visitation by family and guests, according to the patient’s preferences.
  • Visitation: The patient has the right to choose who his/her family members are including, but not limited to a spouse, domestic partner, same-sex partner, other family members, or friends who the patient considers to be his/her family. The patient has the right to receive visitation from these family members and other guests during their medical center stay. Family has 24-hour access to the patient. Family and visitors have a responsibility to comply with any visitation restrictions recommended and communicated by the healthcare team, based on the needs of the patient. Please review Medical Center Visitation Guidelines and Policy A-31 (PDF) for additional information.
  • Communication: Within limits appropriate for the privacy and well-being of the patient and other patients, communication between the patient and others outside the MUSC Medical Center is respected. If the patient is hearing impaired or does not speak and understand the English language, interpreters and/or text telephones will be provided free of charge.
  • Notification of Medical Center Admission: The patient has a right to have their family and personal physician notified of admission within reasonable amount of time.

Respect and Nondiscrimination

  • Access to Treatment: Within the capacity and scope of our mission and services, MUSC Medical Center respects and supports the patient’s right to impartial access to treatment/services that are consistent with relevant laws, regulations, and medically indicated.
  • Personal Privacy: The right of the patient to personal, visual, and auditory privacy will be honored to the extent reasonable.
  • Restraint and Seclusion: The MUSC Medical Center Policy on Restraints and Seclusion shall ensure that patients shall be free of any form of restraints, physical or chemical, that is not medically necessary.
  • Psychosocial, Cultural and Spiritual Values: The patient has a right to express spiritual and cultural beliefs provided they do not interfere with others or medical center operations. These psychological, cultural and spiritual values will be considered in the care of the patient. Chaplaincy Services are available 24/7. You can ask staff to contact a chaplain or request clergy to visit (call office at 843-792-9464 or page through operator by calling 843-792-2123).
  • Photographs, Filming, or Recording: Photographs, filming or recording will not be granted without the informed consent of the patient or their legal representative. Patients may refuse the photographs, recording or filming of care; and the may request such action(s) stop any time during the process even if prior consent was given.
  • Safety and Security: The patient has a right to be protected from the risks of the medical center environment. The Medical Center's Patient Safety Committee, Safety Committee, Infection Control Committee, and Risk Management Program will seek to eliminate risks to the patient.

Participation in Treatment Decisions

  • Advance Directives: Formulation and use of advance directives and designation of surrogate decision makers are facilitated.
  • Explanation of Medical Care: To the extent desired by the patient, the patient is provided with a clear, concise explanation of their condition and proposed procedures including risk or side effects, recuperation details, and probability of success.
  • Medical Decisions: The patient has a right to make decisions concerning his/her care in the inpatient and outpatient areas, including pain management, advance directives, and the refusal of care. Should the patient be unable to make these decisions, the patient may appoint a surrogate to act on his/her behalf.
  • Discharge Planning: Patients may request a discharge planning evaluation.
  • Consultations: The patient has the right to request consultation with a specialist. This may be arranged through referral by the patient's attending physician.
  • Pain Management: The patient has a right to have his/her pain assessed and managed appropriately.
  • Refusal of Care: Patients or their surrogates have the right to refuse care, treatment or services according to the laws of South Carolina.
  • Protective Services: The patient has a right to access protective services, information and assistance.
  • Freedom from Abuse: Patients have a right to be free from mental, physical, sexual, and verbal abuse, neglect, and exploitation from staff, visitors, students, volunteers, other patients, or family members.
  • Dying with Dignity: The care and dignity of the dying patient will be honored through effective pain management, consultations with the patient and the patient's family, and the acknowledgement of psychosocial and spiritual concerns of the patient and his/her family.
  • Ethical Consideration: Conflicts of values, principles or interest in the clinical setting will be resolved through the collaboration of the professional staff and the patient, and when appropriate, the patient's family or other representative. The Ethics Consult Service of the MUSC Ethics Committee will provide assistance when necessary.

Confidentiality & Information Disclosure

  • Confidentiality: Patient confidentiality is honored within the limits of the law. This includes the patient's location, identity, and medical record and applies to the sharing of information within the Medical Center with outside sources.
  • Identity of Caregivers: The patient has the right to know the identity and professional status of individuals providing service to him/her and to know which physician or other practitioner is primarily responsible for his/her care. The patient also has the right to request to speak with his/her attending physician at any time by contacting the medical center operator, the nurse manager, or by asking any member of the healthcare team.
  • Access to Information: The patient has the right to access complete and current information regarding his/her diagnosis, treatment, any known prognosis, outcomes of care including unanticipated outcomes of care.
  • Investigational Studies/Research Subjects: The patient has the right to refuse to participate in any research activity or to withdraw at any time. This decision does not affect the provision of health care to the patient. Patients participating in research, investigation and clinical trials have the right to adequate information to make an informed consent regarding the research and the right to refuse to participate without compromising their access to care and treatment.
  • Disclosures: The patient has the right to access, request amendments to, and receive an accounting of all disclosures regarding his/her health information as permitted by law.

Patient Safety & Quality of Care Complaints

  • Concerns, complaints, and Grievances: The Patient, patient’s Spokesperson, Family or Legal Guardian have a right to voice concerns, complaints, or grievances regarding patient safety, quality of care received, or premature discharge. If you have concerns, please talk with your doctor, nurse, or call our MUSC Medical Center’s Patient and Family Centered Care Department at 843-792-5555. MUSC Medical Center has a process for prompt resolution of patient concerns and details are provided to each patient. Voicing a concern, complaint, or grievance will result in timely review, response and, when possible, resolution. Voicing concerns will not affect future care received at the Medical Center.

If we are unable to resolve your concerns you may contact the agencies below:

  • S.C. Dept. of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) at 800-922-6735
  • The Joint Commission at 800-994-6610
  • Carolinas Center for Medical Excellence (Medicaid & Medicare only) at 800-922-3089

Patient Responsibilities

  • Respect and Consideration: The patient is responsible for being respectful of the Medical Center and its employees, the property and privacy of others, and shall conduct himself/herself accordingly.
  • Provision of Information: The patient has the responsibility to provide, to the best of his/her knowledge, accurate and complete information on all matters relating to his/her health.
  • Asking Questions: Patients are responsible for asking questions when they do not understand what they have been told about their care or what they are expected to do.
  • Following Instructions: The patient is responsible for following the treatment plan mutually agreed upon by the patient, the physicians, and other clinicians involved in the patient's care. The patient has the responsibility to express any concerns they have in their ability to follow or comply with the proposed care or treatment. The patient is expected to remain on the inpatient clinical unit. If patient refuses to follow instructions regarding leaving the unit, he/she assumes all risk associated with that action.
  • Refusal of Treatment/Accepting Consequences: The patient is responsible for his/her actions and the outcomes of those actions if he/she refuses treatment or does not follow the agreed upon treatment plan.
  • Medical Center Charges: The patient is responsible for assuring that the financial obligations of his/her health care are fulfilled as promptly as possible.
  • Medical Center Rules and Regulations: The patient is responsible for following Medical Center rules and regulations affecting patient care and conduct.