At a discussion, the Indian Medical Association(IMA) held that in most of the cases in which actions were taken against doctors for neglect in duty, they have failed in proper documentation which becomes mandatory in case of eventualities.

At the discussion the panel-comprised of experts from different fields including law, forensics and others highlighted a case study of a young girl with fever for two days who was admitted to a hospital. None of the tests that were performed led to a diagnosis. The next day her condition worsened and she began vomiting blood from the nose. Though the required care was given the girl died but the cause of death remained undiagnosed.

“If certain complications arrive then as a doctor I must try to involve more and more consultants. More the doctors get involved, the safer you are,” said Dr Ashutosh Apte, one of the panelists who is an orthopedic surgeon and a lawyer. “Documenting along with the course of treatment becomes important and if at all the patient dies the document can be submitted for legal proceedings,” he added.

Another panelist, the former Supreme Court judge, VS Sipurkar had this to say: “Doctors should write down all the procedures they have performed and the condition of the patient from time to time. If all this is done truthfully, a doctor shall not be afraid of even the Chief Justice of India. There is a possible case that the doctor might not be able to document things every minute, in that case the doctor should leave a note right in the document saying ‘Case papers are incomplete’”

“Another important aspect is staying in tune with relatives throughout the course of treatment and during the time of death. That’s how a doctor or a hospital forms credibility and a reputation about them. In the end it’s all about how smartly you communicate things,” said Dr Shivendra Singhal, another panelist who is a forensic expert.

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