Tamil Nadu

Government hospital told to share details of patients, treatment

TNIC issues show-cause notice to Public Information Officer

In a significant order, the Tamil Nadu Information Commission (TNIC) has directed the Public Information Officer (PIO), Government Mohan Kumaramangalam Medical College Hospital, Salem, to provide complete information sought by a petitioner regarding the treatment provided to patients admitted to the emergency ward during a specified period.

In his petition dated 19/02/2018, V. Raju of Azhagapuram in Salem sought access to the register containing the details of patients admitted to the emergency ward of the hospital between 01/01/2015 and 01/12/2015 and also the particulars of the treatment provided to them. In particular, he sought to know the name of the doctor who treated A. Sennakrishnan of Narasothipatti and the medication that was prescribed to the patient.

Not satisfied with the information shared by the PIO and the first appellate authority, he moved the Tamil Nadu Information Commission, seeking the desired information and action against the PIO for not providing the same.

State Information Commissioner S. Selvaraj, who heard both sides, concluded that the details provided by the PIO was not complete. He directed the public authority to allow the petitioner to peruse the register containing information and treatment protocol of patients in the emergency ward and to issue certified copies, if required, under the provisions of Section 7(6) of the Right to Information Act, 2005.

Calling for a compliance report, Mr. Selvaraj issued a show cause notice to the PIO, seeking an explanation as to why a penalty of ₹25,000 under Section 20(1) of the Act should not be imposed on her for not providing complete information to the petitioner in time.

However, a Chennai-based medico-legal expert pointed out that patients had the rights to privacy and secrecy, and doctors had a duty to safeguard these rights. Private medical records cannot be revealed to third parties. Close relatives can certainly demand to see the medical records of patients. However, for someone to get access to the details of all patients in a particular ward over a period of a year will be, clearly, an infringement of the rights of those patients.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 5:58:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/government-hospital-told-to-share-details-of-patients-treatment/article28873435.ece

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