Frustrated over DETECTIVE WORK to understand doctors prescriptions, Odisha HC asks for adherence to MCI guidelines
Odisha: Expressing its frustration associated with detective work in so far as medical reports/doctors' prescriptions are concerned, the Odisha High Court has clearly iterated that doctors of state government hospitals as well as private health facilities should write the name of their suggested medications in capital letters or at least in legible handwriting so that the name of the medication along with their dosage, strength and the frequency of the dose can be easily understood.
Before parting with the present application, one issue which this court is constrained to articulate is that considerable time and frustration associated with detective work in so far as medical reports/doctors' prescriptions are concerned. Such illegible scrawls composed by doctors creates unnecessary nuisance at the end of the patients, pharmacists, Police, prosecutors, judges who are bound to deal with such medical reports. Prescriptions of physicians, OPD slips, post-mortem report, injury report etc. written, perforce, are required to be legible and fully comprehensible. A medical prescription oughtn't to leave any room for ambiguity or interpretation.
The court while did convey the highest regard for the professionalism of doctors and appreciating their exemplary and untiring service during COVID19 pandemic,
This Court has highest regard for the professionalism of doctors and records its appreciation for them for their exemplary and untiring service during COVID19 pandemic at different levels. The entire nation salutes their professionalism and supreme sacrifice during the current pandemic of unrelenting ferocity. This Court is also not suggesting that there is a responsibility gap at the end of the medical professionals like the Doctors, who are unquestionably valuable assets to our society. It is also equally trite that legible hand writing is a valuable asset to an educated man
At the same time, the court expressed its concern over illegible handwriting and its serious implications
The illegible or significantly lower legibility than average handwriting impedes understanding the prescriptions and stand as a barrier to proper comprehension leading to, among others, innumerable medical complication. If we consider the issue from the patient's perspective, illegible handwriting can delay treatment and lead to unnecessary tests and inappropriate doses which, in turn, can result in, at times, fatal consequences. On many occasions, the pharmacists find it difficult to decipher what is written in the prescription. Sometimes, even some physicians fail to read their own handwriting.The physician working in Government or private or other medical set-ups are suggested to write the name of drugs in CAPITAL LETTERS or in a legible manner. The CAPITAL LETTERS could perhaps ensure a proper visibility to the prescriptions and will remove the guess work and related inconveniences completely. Better handwriting 5 will help in easily deciphering the names of the drugs, doses, strength, frequency etc. with much ease. There could be some good justifications for such sloppy handwriting and the prominent one could be the relative heavy work pressure, long working hours, symptoms like writer's cramp etc.due to adverse patient-doctor ratio in the country, more especially, in the State like Odisha. In this new age of consumerism and the looming threat of allegations of medical negligence, it is imminent that the professionals protect themselves by exercising this basic care and caution
While referring to the MCI Code of Medical Ethics that spell out that Every physician should prescribe drugs with generic names and preferably in capital letters and he/she shall ensure that there is a rational prescription and use of drugs, the court further noted
This court feels, it is imperative that the entire physician community need to go an extra mile and make conscious efforts to write prescriptions in good handwriting preferably in CAPITAL LETTERS. The digital era could also throw open several options to make prescriptions and the diagnosis more patient friendly
The court then directed Chief Secretary, Government of Odisha to examine the feasibility of issuing appropriate circulars, in consultation with the Medical Council of India and the Central Government, to implement the abovementioned directions, as per the Notifications dated 21.09.2016 issued by the Medical Council of India, with respect to prescription of drugs by doctors. Further, appropriate steps may also be taken to create awareness among the medical professionals, involved in medico-legal cases, to record their observations and comments in a legible manner, it noted.
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