Patients Rights Council replaces rhetoric with resources and loving support


Rita Marker

Rather than approaching controversial health care options with rhetoric and philosophy, the Patients Rights Council in Steubenville, Ohio, uses information and practical patient support to protect vulnerable patients.

With honest evaluations of medical policies and legal support, the Patients Rights Council provides objective information for patients making life-changing or end-of-life decisions in their health care.

“We’re not just opposing something, we’re helping them get the care that they need,” said Rita Marker, lawyer, author and director of the Patients Rights Council.

The council’s website provides information for students, journalists, policy-makers, and medical and legal professionals in the United States and beyond.

More important than telling people why they are wrong, Marker said, is asking them about the reasons for believing what they do.

People dealing with complex and intimidating choices about health care or who have loved ones struggling through uncertainty don’t want to hear how much you know, she said.

“Knowing the facts is one thing … but people really don’t care how much you know unless they know how much you care,” said Marker.

For decades Marker has worked to defend patients and their loved ones with the power of knowledge. She continues to travel internationally to give presentations on the importance of making informed health care decisions.

“You really need a well-written, durable power of attorney for health care,” Marker said. “We provide those free of charge.”

The Protective Medical Decisions Document (PMDD) has the potential to save a patient from death by legally binding end-of-life decisions to a close family member or friend. Under circumstances where the patient is unable to make decisions for himself or herself, the trusted person would be able to act with the patient’s best interest in mind.

The document also specifically prohibits euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Such services model a way for Franciscan University of Steubenville students to take practical steps for protecting the most vulnerable. Future political advocates can look to the Patients Rights Council to work to protect every patient possible.

When it comes to individual outreach, the council provides guidance for effective conversations through seminars and online resources.

The Patients Rights Council also offers internships for individuals who are interested in taking part in their mission. With an office located in Steubenville, Ohio, it provides a convenient and meaningful opportunity for students to take practical action and gain experience in a legal setting.

Students interested in interning for the Patients Rights Council can reach out to gain more information at

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