Prescription: Don't Write Illegibly, Type Out Reports, Docs Told
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14 April 2010
By Utkarsh Anand
New Delhi, India
While the illegible scrib bles on prescriptions have been the signature mark of most doctors, such handwriting that make medico–legal reports indecipherable has invited the ire of a city court.
After confusion during court proceedings, due to illegibility of handwritten reports in medico–legal cases (MLCs), the court of Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) San jeev Aggarwal recently issued an array of directives to all hospitals in the Capital. ASJ Aggarwal also directed the Delhi government to monitor the implementation.
The court said all MLC reports should be computer–typed, and not handwritten, from now. ASJ Aggarwal held that the directives should be realised for “better administration of criminal justice”.
The judge observed that in several cases MLC reports were prepared in a reckless manner – some even had doodles on them. Such re ports, the court said, eat into the court’s time – first in deciphering them and then putting information to use during the course of a trial. “Medico–legal reports, especially the postmortem reports, (are to) be prepared by computer typing rather than handwriting to save the time of the court, defence lawyers and the accused,” the judge ordered. Legible reports also give “clarity to accused persons as to what is against them”.
ASJ Aggarwal said junior and trainee doctors, who do not have the adequate expertise, should not prepare MLCs, as their reports usually do not give out complete information. Doctors preparing the reports must have proficiency in forensic science, he held.
The court said all reports must carry diagrams representing a victim’s body to point out the spot of injury, as these medical facts are essential to better understand the injuries and facts during a trial.
“Along with postmortem reports, injuries found on the body of the deceased should also be illustrated on a sketch of the human body, including the exit and entry wound of bullet injuries, at least in burn and murder cases,” the directive stated.
ASJ Aggarwal also expressed displeasure over the delay in subt mission of the final autopsy report and said the authorities must pref sent these reports within a specified deadline. “The subsequent or final opinion by the autopsy surgeon re garding the cause of death is sub, mitted very late in most cases, which results in grave injustice to the accused and the victim during the trial,” ASJ Aggarwal said.
He said reports from the Forensic Scientific Laboratory should be. submitted in a time–bound manner –“at least in serious cases”.