We want you to have the best possible care as prescribed or recommended by those treating you. The Hospital provides care, treatment and services within its capabilities and mission, and in compliance with laws and regulations. We also want you to know what your rights are as a patient, as well as what your obligations are to yourself, your physician* and the Hospital.

Your Rights

As a patient of The George Washington University Hospital, you have the right to:

  1. Receive complete and current information concerning your diagnosis, treatment and prognosis in terms you can be reasonably expected to understand.
  2. Request a second opinion from another physician.
  3. Participate actively in determining a course of treatment for yourself.
  4. Determine the course of medical treatment for yourself and, if you are a pregnant woman, for your fetus. It is the policy of this Hospital that your doctor must consider your health and the health of your fetus in assessing the range of medically reasonable treatment options. Our physicians are committed to providing you with information to help you evaluate the risks and benefits of any recommended treatment or course of care for you and your fetus.
  5. Receive information that you need to give informed consent for any proposed procedure or treatment, including information related to the risks, benefits and alternatives to the proposed procedure or treatment in light of your condition and current medical knowledge.
  6. Refuse treatment and be told what effect this may have on your health, and to be informed of the other potential consequences of refusal. Furthermore, you have the right to refuse assessment, care or treatment by any specific group or individual not essential to your care needs.
  7. Designate an individual to represent you in making decisions regarding your treatment and healthcare. This includes, as allowed by law, an individual to refuse care, treatment and services on your behalf. Please ask your nurse for a copy of our brochure Making Your Medical Choice Known, and ask for an Advance Directive form.
  8. Receive considerate and respectful care, support for personal dignity and privacy in a clean and safe environment.
  9. Receive care committed to the prevention and management of pain.
  10. Refuse to take part in research.
  11. Receive respect for cultural, psychosocial, spiritual and personal values, beliefs and preferences. Spiritual services are available upon request.
  12. Know by name the physicians*, nurses and other staff members responsible for your care.
  13. Receive confidentiality for all information and records regarding your care. Access, request amendment to and receive an accounting of disclosures regarding your health information.
  14. Have language-interpreter services arranged by the Hospital.
  15. Examine and receive an explanation of your bill.
  16. Limit those persons who visit you.
  17. Receive equal treatment at all times and under all circumstances, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran status, family responsibilities, disability, infectious disease, matriculation, political affiliation, source of income or place of residence or business. For more information, refer to the section below entitled “Services for Patients with Disabilities and Nondiscrimination Based on Disability.”
  18. Receive treatment free from mental, physical, sexual and verbal abuse, neglect and exploitation.
  19. Access protective and advocacy services. A list of services will be provided upon request.
  20. File a complaint with the state survey and certification agency. If you are dissatisfied with the care received at
  21. The George Washington University Hospital, and you do not wish to raise the issue with a member of the hospital staff or a physician, you may contact D.C. Department of Health, 825 N. Capital Street, NE, Second Floor, Washington, D.C. 20002 or the complaint hotline at 202-442-5833.
  22. Be advised should the Hospital propose to initiate court proceedings pertinent to your course of treatment.

A GW Hospital Patient Advocate is available to assist you regarding questions about patients’ rights, provide information and referrals, solve problems, investigate complaints and act as your advocate. To reach the Patient Advocate, call 202-715-4195.

If your concerns cannot be resolved, you may contact The Joint Commissions Office of Quality Monitoring to report concerns or to register complaints about a Joint Commission-accredited healthcare organization.
Phone: 1-800-994-6610
Click here to report a patient safety concern or complaint.

Your Responsibilities

Rules and regulations pertaining to patient conduct are necessary so that all patients are treated fairly and feel secure while in the Hospital. Your cooperation in the responsibilities listed below will help us provide quality care and services.

  1. Talk to our staff and ask questions. Good communication promotes good care.
  2. Please cooperate with your caregivers and follow the plan of care you, your physician and your healthcare team have agreed upon.
  3. Accept the consequences of your decisions, follow rules and regulations and show respect and consideration. Please make any specific care wishes, including any Advance Directive, known to your attending physician and healthcare team.
  4. Respect the privacy of your roommate and respect the rights of others by assisting in the control of noise and the number of visitors you receive.
  5. Interactions with the media. Privacy and restful recuperation for all patients is a priority at GW Hospital. For this reason, all interactions with the media must be coordinated with the hospital marketing department. Patients cannot authorize media interviews in the hospital. For questions related to media interviews, please call the marketing department at 202-715-4447.
  6. In order to protect confidential patient information and the rights and privacy of hospital staff, patient and visitor use of recording devices such as cameras (including cell phone cameras), video recorders, audio recorders or any other type of equipment used to capture or record images and/or sound is prohibited on The George Washington University Hospital premises with the exception of the Women’s Services Unit and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (please see the Child Birth packet for specifics). Please respect the privacy of others and speak to the GW Hospital Patient Advocate at 202-715-4195 if you have any concerns.

Disclaimer: Are you or your companion deaf or hard of hearing and in need of assistance? If so, please notify hospital staff so that we can help. All auxiliary/interpreter services are free of charge.