Patients’ Rights and Expectations with Relevance to Courtney’s Case
Thus, while accessing medical care, most American citizens do so with the expectation that they are granted certain rights by the law. Some of these basic rights for American patients include: Right to Be Treated with Respect, Right to Make a Treatment Choice, Right to Refuse Treatment, Right to Obtain Your Medical Records, Right to Privacy of Your Medical Records, Right to Informed Consent and Right to Make Decisions About End-of-Life Care (Dempski 2008). These rights are reflected in the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and are usually accompanied by some responsibilities on the patient side. These responsibilities include: Maintaining healthy habits, Being respectful to providers, Being honest with providers, Complying with treatment Plans, Preparing for emergencies, Reading behind the headlines, Making decisions responsibly, Understanding prescription drugs and their possible effects, Meeting financial obligations, Reporting fraud and wrongdoing and Avoiding putting others at risk among others (Dempski 2008).
With respect to Robert Courtney’s case, the patient’s right to be treated with respect was clearly violated and the expectation to receive high quality medication after paying medical fees was contravened. His acts of diluting the chemotherapy drugs and misbranding them before distributing to cancer patients in a bid to selfishly maximize profits breached the Production packaging Protection Act (2002) of 18U.S.C 1365 (a) (3) and Controlled substance Act 21U.S.C 33 (Pitts 2001).
As a patient advocate whom the patients had bestowed trust on him, Courtney failed to uphold the obligation of diligently doing and interpreting cautiously what his patients did not understand. Courtney was sentenced to 30 years in prison by the district court after he pleaded guilty in 158 times of diluting chemotherapy drugs and 34 patients were approved as victims of his malicious felonies (Pitts 2001). He was charged with causing extreme physiological and psychological harm to his victims.
The main deciding factors were: tampering with consumer products by diluting and misbranding and also adulteration of the drugs by changing in part or wholly. He was charged according to the 18 USC sections 1365 (a) (3) for 8 counts of class C tampering and under 21 USC section 331 (k) for 158 times of drug dilutions for 34 patients (Pitts 2001)
Apart from the years behind bars Courtney was also was sentenced for restitution of 10.4 million $ and a fine of 25,000$. However all this could not restore the intense damaged caused on the patients like losing hair and deaths. Courtney filed an appeal against the Court’s upward departure that sentenced him to 30 years imprisonment instead of 17 years (Pitts 2001). The court cited provisions of the guidelines which labeled Courtney’s crimes as grave and need for departure when the flat five-level increase discounts a considerable number of units.
To date Courtney is serving his jail term since August 2002 and following his case some reforms have been undertaken on the procedures of dispensing drugs to patients. The Medical Dispensing and Medication Policy was legislated in 2013 to ensure efficiency and accountability among all those who administer and prescribe drugs. Moreover, legislators in Missouri and Kansas laid stringent measures to curb pharmacies from engaging in fraudulent activities.
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