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Hospital’s Controversial Policy Prompts Questions About Free Speech and Patient Care

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This article was originally published at StateOfUnion.org. Publications approved for syndication have permission to republish this article, such as Microsoft News, Yahoo News, Newsbreak, UltimateNewswire and others. To learn more about syndication opportunities, visit About Us.

Milford Regional Medical Center has implemented a patient and visitor code of conduct to ensure a safe and inclusive environment.

The code prohibits disrespectful, racist, discriminatory, or harassing behavior, including offensive comments and aggressive actions.

Dr. Peter Smulowitz emphasized the importance of body language and tone of voice in communication and stated that individuals accused of violating the code will be given a chance to explain themselves.

Smulowitz said, “Everyone should expect a safe, caring and inclusive environment in all our spaces.”

“Our patient and visitor code of conduct helps us meet this goal. Words or actions that are disrespectful, racist, discriminatory, hostile or harassing are not welcome and will not be tolerated,” he explained.

Smulowitz said, “offensive comments about others’ race, ethnicity, accent, religion, gender, sexual orientation or other personal traits; refusal to see a clinician or other staff member based on these personal traits; aggressive or intimidating behavior, physical or verbal threats and assaults; sexual or vulgar words or actions; and disrupting another patient’s care or experience.”

Smulowitz cautioned that “body language and tone of voice are also important parts of communication.”

“If we believe you have violated our code with unwelcome words or actions, you will be given a chance to explain your point of view. We will always carefully consider your response before we make any decisions about future care at Milford Regional,” he continued.

According to their website, “Some violations of this [c]ode may lead to patients being asked to make other plans for their care. For serious or repeated violations, future non-emergency care and visitation rights at Milford Regional may require review, though we expect this to be rare.”

Consequences for infractions may include denial of non-emergency treatment and potential review of future care and visitation rights.

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