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COPD Patient International BILL OF RIGHTS

The First World Conference of COPD Patients held in Rome, June 2009 had more than 250 people from more than 40 countries in the world. Gathered together, the First World COPD Patient Bill came into being.

How does the health authority in our country, the United States of America, stack up against other countries in the COPD fight for patient rights?
How does our local authority stack up?
“COPD is a disease that working people acquire as a part of their
life in society. Like arthritis where years of strain and lifting
on the joints wears them down, COPD is caused by years of
breathing toxic materials, especially tobacco and biomass fuel
smoke, and other pollution that damages the lungs.
People with COPD worldwide have earned their right to
medical care by their lives of work. These rights include
all those listed below.”

The COPD Patients’ Global Bill of Rights was adopted
by the First World Conference of COPD Patients,
1. The right to receive early and accurate diagnosis

Early and accurate diagnosis is essential for COPD patients to take
the necessary steps to improve their quality of life and lung health.
Physicians and national health services have a responsibility
to provide this early and accurate diagnosis. National health
services should have reliable information about the number of
COPD patients in their country. Physicians should be willing and
able to diagnose COPD.

2. The right for information and education about COPD

People in each country should know what COPD is, its risk
factors, especially smoking, and what symptoms it causes. COPD
patients should be taught what state-of-the-art care for COPD

3. The right for support and understanding

Friends, family, communities, health care providers, and health
services need to provide support and understanding to COPD
patients for this difficult disease.

4. The right to receive care and treatment that will benefit them

Proper care and treatment will benefit patients, improve their
breathing and quality of life, and will help them contribute more
to others. Effective medicines, smoking cessation counseling
and treatment, and good health care are essential to provide this
right, as is long-term follow up.

5. The right to their fair share of society’s involvement and
investment in their welfare and care

COPD patients have worked throughout their lives to earn their
fair share of society’s involvement and investment in their welfare.

6. The right to advocate with other COPD patients and
supporters for improved COPD care and COPD prevention

COPD patients know how important good care is to their lives.
They also know that every effort should be made to prevent
others from suffering from this disease. It is their right and
responsibility to advocate at every level for improved COPD care
and prevention.

7. The right to safe air and environment

Unsafe air and environment are particularly harmful to COPD
patients. All health care professionals have an obligation to
protect their patients from conditions that are unsafe to their
health. Patients and health care providers have an obligation to
fight for their rights to safe air and environment.

The COPD Patients’ Global Bill of Rights was developed
by the International Copd Coalition (ICC)
Helping the World Breathe Free

More later… Sharon O’Hara