Published On : Mon, Oct 17th, 2016

IMA stresses need to better patient-doctor communication to avoid bitter confrontation

Doctor And Patient TeamNagpur: The growing lack of communication between doctors and kin of patients being treated under them has led to the rise in blame game. Eventually more doctors are being brought to book for negligence in duty. Taking strong cognizance of the trend, Indian Medical Association has asked the doctors to develop a better communication model in which the doctors can keep the patients’ relatives well informed in case of any complication. Besides, the need to maintain proper documentation regarding patient’s medical history was also well stressed upon to minimize the bad confrontation.

This was discussed in a panel discussion organized at IMA hall in Nagpur, as a part of NIMACOM’16, the 14th annual conference organized by Indian Medical Association (IMA), on Sanday at IMA hall. The panelists include former Supreme Court judge V S Sirpurkar, orthopaedic surgeon Dr Ashutosh Apte who is also a lawyer, forensic expert Dr Shivendra Singhal and Sakal editor Shailesh Pande.

The discussion was focused on a case study where a young girl with fever for two days was admitted to a small hospital. All the tests performed on her failed to diagnose any disease. The next day she became serious, started vomiting blood from nose, and eventually died despite being given all necessary treatment. The cause of death remained undiagnosed.

“If certain complications arrive then as a doctor I must try to involve more and more consultants. More the doctors get involved, safer you are,” Dr Ashutosh Apte said on the case. “Documenting along with the course of treatment becomes important as if at all the patient dies the document can be submitted for legal proceedings,” he added.

“Doctors should write down all the procedures they have performed and the condition of the patient form time to time. If all this is done truthfully, a doctor shall not be afraid of even the Chief Justice of India. There is a possible case that the doctor might not be able to document things every minute, in that case the doctor should leave a note right in the document saying ‘Case papers are incomplete’”, Shirpurkar said
“Another important aspect is staying in tune with relatives throughout the course of treatment and during the time of death. That’s how a doctor or a hospital forms credibility and a reputation about them. In the end it’s all about how smartly you communicate things,” Dr Shivendra Singhal said.