That doctors’ have poor handwriting is nothing new. But now, the legibility (or lack thereof) of medical records finds itself under the scrutiny of law.
When the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court struggled to read the injury remarks of victims in three separate criminal cases’ medical reports, because of poor handwriting, it reprimanded and penalised the doctors who had authored them.
The judges considered poor handwriting an ‘obstruction to court work’ and summoned Dr TP Jaiswal of Unnao, Dr PK Goel of Sitapur and Dr Ashish Saxena of Gonda and imposed a fine of Rs 5000 each on them.
According to a report in The Times of India, the court further directed principal secretary (home), principal secretary (medical and health) and director general (medical and health) of the state to ensure that in the future, medico reports are prepared in easy language and legible handwriting.
The fine amount needs to be deposited at the library of Oudh Bar Association, failing which the amount will be deducted from the doctors’ salaries, the report added.
The court also suggested that the reports be computer-typed rather than handwritten, to avoid encountering such problems in the future.
Noticeably, a circular was issued by UP director general (medical and health) in 2012 to doctors, asking them to present medical reports in ‘readable form’. Adducing to the circular, the judges said that the guidelines have been ‘ignored with impunity’.
The doctors, however, cited a heavy workload as the cause and pled negligence.
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