MEDICINE & LAW

Medical jurisprudence or legal medicine is the branch of science and medicine involving the study and application of scientific and medical knowledge to legal problems, such as inquests, and in the field of law.
Medical malpractice’ is professional negligence by act or omission by a health care provider in which the treatment provided falls below the accepted standard of practice in the medical community and causes injury or death to the patient, with most cases involving medical error.

TO AVOID MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE -DO,S &DONT,S FOR DOCTORS

DO,S

Accept the changes and challenges in the practice of medicine
Do right things, have a clear conscience
Communicate in compassionate and sensitive way
Listen attentively, look carefully and always face the patient
Finances and Bills should be explained properly
Maintain proper records including refusals
Attend regularly and personally, whether a patient or a case in CPA
Take due cognizance and reply in time Inform the Insurance Company. Get an indemnity policy. Continue follow-up treatment of the patient
Take the help of a legal, medico-legal expert while filing the reply
Produce affidavits of colleagues and ask for expert witness whenever necessary. Give references relevant to case and demand cross examination.
Try to explain any misunderstanding or misrepresentation by giving proper examples. Queries must be solved.
Ask for counter compensation.
Update not only your knowledge and skill but also that your staff. Update the facilities and instruments. Attend workshops, conferences, CMEs etc.
Stay calm; avoid surprises, anger, panic and self doubt.
Be aware of the so-called “social workers” and “ambulance chaser advocates”.
Inform Police whenever necessary.
Extend all possible co-operations to the Police.
Furnish copies of medical records to Police, court or relatives whenever demanded. Consent of patient may be taken while providing information to Police.
Follow the legal procedures or provisions.
Have a valid informed consent for the treatment.
Preserve the documents, records especially in medico-legal, controversial or complicated cases. Give guarded prognosis.
Adjust the doses of drugs according to weight especially in children with renal/hepatic disorders.
Advice pathological, radiological tests in writing.
Insist for post-mortem examination if the cause of death can’t be ascertained.
Involve medical associations, medico-legal cells, voluntary organizations etc., whenever legal problem arises
Consult your Lawyer before giving any reply.
Record the history of drug allergy.
If the patient was examined hurriedly, ask him to come for review next day.
If the diagnosis is not confirmed, mention “diagnosis under review”.
Avoid vague, non-specific terminologies or short forms.
Explain treatment modalities whenever required especially in complicated cases.
Give/write instructions in comprehensive local language.
In case of any deviation from standard practice, mention the reasons.
When you are not sure, consult your senior, colleague or specialist.
Refer to higher center whenever necessary.
DONT,S
Ignore or disrespect the courts.
Neglect our duties as doctor.
Volunteer to handover the documents unless specifically asked for.
Rely entirely on your Advocates.
Give unnecessary details.
Get panicky or frightened simply because there is case in Consumer Forum.
Use vague or non-specific terminology.
Behave in a rude, rough or inhuman manner.
Avoid communicating with patients or relatives.
Hesitate in consulting your Senior or colleagues especially in difficult cases.
Over-prescribe or under-prescribe. Don’t prescribe with out examining the patient. Don’t accept substitutes.
Exceed your level of competence or field of specialization. Don’t be overconfident.
Talk loose about your colleagues, may be you would have done same thing at that moment making an error of judgment. You never know under what circumstances this had happened.
Manipulate or tamper with the documents.
Do unlawful or unethical acts.
Experiment with patients.
Issue false or bogus certificates. Certificate was issued on request is no defense.
Neglect the treatment while completing legal formalities especially in serious or emergency situation. Don’t allow modern diagnostic tests to substitute your clinical acumen.
Over investigate.
Prescribe multiple drugs, i.e., “shotgun therapy”

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