The medical profession is considered as one of the noblest professions in the world. The professionals in this area of practice are capable of serving humanity, provide care, efficiency and render professional skill while treating their patients. However, nowadays due to the communication gap between the doctor and the patient or due to the profit motive-oriented profession, the cases of medical negligence is increasing day by day. Thus, there are some lacunae in today’s medical treatment and professional expertise. Therefore, in order to safeguard oneself from the strict laws which are in favour of the patient, it is important to know the medical laws with respect to medical negligence so that they can protect themselves from the case which is registered against the doctors if they are not guilty of committing such an offence.
Since the time public awareness has spread in India regarding the types of cases which fall under medical negligence and the actions that have been taken against the medical fraternity, the hospitals and the doctors are facing a huge number of legal complaints with regards to even petty matters of medical negligence. Therefore, it is essential for a doctor to know what actions amount to medical negligence in India.
It is also expected from the medical professional that they follow the code of medical ethics which has been laid down by the Indian Medical Council which also provides the duties towards the patients which has to be fulfilled by the doctor.
Reasons why a doctor must be updated with medical negligence laws
- A doctor may be called upon in the court of law and may be questioned regarding the alleged medical negligence through which harm has been caused to the patient.
- Even if the doctor is summoned to the court, the burden of proof lies upon the applicant who has filed the case against the doctor. However, it is also better if the medical practitioner has the knowledge regarding the provisions of the law with regards to the burden of proof and how he can safeguard himself from the medical negligence case that has been filed against him/her. The doctor can hire a legal person who can explain the law to the accused doctor.
Medical negligence case is a legal case that can be defined as a case injury which is caused due to the malpractice of the doctor while treating the injury of the patient for which the patient had approached the doctor.
The cases that fall under the purview of the medical negligence cases are as follows:
- Misdiagnosis of an ailment of the patient.
- Incorrect medication prescribed to the patient.
- Mistakes during surgery, for instance, leaving a piece of equipment in the body of the patient.
- Fake doctor treating a patient.
Therefore, it is very important for the doctor to have the basic legal knowledge, especially with regards to cases which requires police investigation as well as for cases where the doctor is accused of medical negligence in India.
Laws which the doctor must know
- The Indian penal code
- Criminal procedure code 1908
- The Consumer Protection Act
- Medical negligence as per the Indian Medical Association.
And such laws which are decided by the Indian Medical Council from time to time.
To conclude, it is said that the medical profession with special reference to the doctor, must be aware and up to date with the recent rules and regulations that deal with cases of medical negligence. It becomes essential for the doctor to maintain the medical records and the history of the patient so that such records can be produced in the court of law when a case of medical negligence arises.
In order to change the current landscape of the Indian Healthcare System, the government is constantly trying to tackle the challenges faced in an overpopulated country. As per news updated on 16th September 2019, there are certain rules set to keep track of doctors and hospitals through maintaining a complete record of all the medical professionals practising in hospitals, in order to hold them accountable for their wrong-doings, through the National Medical Commission Act. Hence, now more than ever, doctors and other medical professionals are required to be updated with the changes in the law.