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December 23, 1992

The Rights of Patients: The Basic ACLU Guide to Patient Rights

Author Affiliations

University of Cincinnati (Ohio)

JAMA. 1992;268(24):3493. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03490240101051

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The Rights of Patients, by George J. Annas, is the second edition of this text, revised from the 1975 publication The Rights of Hospitalized Patients. This is one of a series of handbooks published in cooperation with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The author is a professor of law, a respected spokesman for human rights, and a frequent commentator on health law and ethics.

The book is written for the laity, and the language is clear, straightforward, and free of jargon. Definitions generally are precise and helpful.

In his introduction the author states that the most powerful concept shaping the practice of modern medicine is the recognition that patients have human rights and that the recognition of human rights is the only force powerful enough to prevent medicine from becoming an impersonal and dehumanizing industry. Without denying the latent power of human rights and the desire of many of