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Ensure doctors write prescriptions in capital letters, Orissa High Court directs State government

The Orissa High Court felt that the entire physician community make conscious efforts to write prescriptions in good handwriting, preferably in capital letters. A file image of a typical doctor's prescription for a mixture.   | Photo Credit: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Upon finding it difficult to decipher medical records, Orissa High Court has directed State government to issue a circular asking illegible handwriting in medical records has the propensity to have adverse medico-legal implications. and in an unambiguous manner.

During hearing of a bail petition, Orissa High Court judge S. K. Panigrahi expressed dissatisfaction that while verifying the medical documents put up for the perusal of the court, it was found that the prescription by the doctor was of pathetically poor legibility and far beyond the comprehension of any common man or even for the court.

Also read: Court’s prescription for doctors!

“Such illegible handwriting in medical records has the propensity to have adverse medico-legal implications. However, learned counsel for the petitioner assisted the court with much difficulty to decipher what was written therein,” said Justice Panigrahi in his judgment.

“This court feels it is imperative that the entire physician community needs 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 judgment reads.

The court noted such illegible scrawls composed by doctors created unnecessary nuisance at the end of the patients, pharmacists, police, prosecutors and judges who are bound to deal with such medical reports.

Also read: Open Page | When doctor's prescription becomes injurious to health!

“Prescriptions of physicians, outdoor patient department slips, post-mortem reports and injury reports, perforce, are required to be legible and fully comprehensible. A medical prescription oughtn’t leave any room for ambiguity or interpretation,” it pointed out.

The judgment quoted a notification of the Medical Council of India (MCI) issued on September 21, 2016, which directed physicians to prescribe drugs with generic names and preferably in capital letters.

“In view of the growing concerns in this regard, especially in view of the fact that illegible handwriting could have life-threatening consequences, this court deems it fit to request the Chief Secretary, Odisha to examine the feasibility of issuing appropriate circulars, in consultation with the Medical Council of India and the Central Government, to implement the direction,” he directed.

The judge further directed that 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.

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Printable version | Oct 1, 2020 2:20:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/ensure-doctors-write-prescriptions-in-capital-letters-orissa-high-court-directs-state-government/article32342017.ece

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