Bhubaneswar: Orissa high court (HC) has advised doctors working in the state’s government-run hospitals and private healthcare facilities to write the name of drugs in capital letters or in a legible manner that will help in easily deciphering them, their doses, strength, and also the frequency of use.
HC made the observation while disposing of a bail application of Krushna Pada Mandal, who is accused in a Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985, case.
Justice SK Panigrahi observed that the physician community at large must walk an extra mile and make conscious efforts to write prescriptions in good handwriting, preferably in capital letters.
“While there could be some good justifications for sloppy handwriting (by doctors) due to heavy work pressure, long working hours, writer’s cramp and due to adverse the patient-doctor ratio in the country at large and also in Odisha, the medical professionals should protect themselves by exercising this basic care and caution from the looming threat of allegations of medical negligence. Perhaps, the capital letters could ensure proper visibility to the prescriptions and will remove the guesswork and related inconveniences. The digital era could also throw open several options to make prescriptions and the diagnosis more patient-friendly,” Justice Panigrahi said while granting bail to the accused in the NDPS case.
Mandal, who is lodged in a jail in Berhampur, had filed a bail application seeking release to take care of his wife, who is suffering from gynecological, cardio-vascular and haematological complications.
Mandal had applied for an interim bail to get her treated, as she lives alone in Berhampur town in Ganjam district.
However, during the verification of the medical documents of Mandal’s wife, the court found the handwriting of a doctor’s prescription to be illegible.
“The documents were far beyond the comprehension of any common man or even for the court. Such illegible handwriting in medical records has the propensity to have adverse medico-legal implications,” the order said.
HC also referred to the circular, issued by the Medical Council of India (MCI) in September 2016, which had said every physician should prescribe drugs with generic names and preferably in capital letters and ordered the chief secretary of Odisha to examine the feasibility of issuing appropriate circulars to implement the Council’s circular.
“The objective of such notification is that writing names of medicine in capital letters ensures that doctors, who have poor running handwriting, can compensate for their deficiency by writing in capital letters. Appropriate steps may be taken to create awareness among the medical professionals, involved in medico-legal cases, to record their observations and comments in a legible manner,” the court added.