Himansu Shekhar Rout

Henceforward, there would be no scribbling in medical prescriptions or post mortem reports. Doctors in Odisha would be bound to write medical prescriptions or post mortem reports clearly so that those would be legible and comprehensible for anyone. This is what the Orissa High Court observed in an order. 

The HC issued a directive to the chief secretary to ensure that all doctors in the state should write the names of medicines clearly and in capital letters in prescriptions. The same would be followed in case of post mortem reports. 

The HC also directed the shief secretary to issue a circular in this regard to both the private and government hospitals, medical colleges and clinics to carry out the order.  

Hearing a petition filed by Rasananda Bhoi, a resident of Hindol in Denkanal district, on September 25, 2023, Justice SK Panigrahi issued the order. 

In the petition, Rasananda stated that his elder son Souvagya Ranjan Bhoi died of snakebite. One Dr. Biswaranjan Pati conducted the postmortem report through virtual mode. However, the order stated, “…he has written something which is not legible and cannot be comprehended in ordinary course of reading unless the writer himself or handwriting expert is invited to examine such description.”

The HC further observed, ”In many cases, the casual approach of most of the doctors while writing the post mortem report is affecting the comprehension of medico-legal documents badly and the judicial system finds it very difficult to read those letters and come to a definite conclusion.”

“Hence, this Court directs the Chief Secretary, State of Odisha to issue direction to all the doctors of the State to write the postmortem report and prescription in capital letter or in legible handwriting. Moreover, the tendency of writing such zigzag handwriting, which cannot be read by any common man or by judicial officers, has become a fashion among the doctors of the State. Substantial number of doctors in the State resort to such handwriting which cannot be read by any ordinary person,” the HC was of the view. 

The HC asked the chief secretary to issue a circular to all the medical centers, private clinics and medical colleges and hospitals directing them to write in proper handwriting or in a typed form when they are prescribing medicine or writing some medico-legal reports.

Appreciating the services rendered by the medical professional during the COVID-19 period or any kind of emergency situation, the HC also said, "This Court is also aware of the fact that the duty schedules of medical professionals are very busy and taxing and finding time to write something comfortably often hinders their capacity to examine more and more patients within the stipulated time." 

“It is generally felt that the medical prescription and medicolegal documents are written in bad handwriting which affects the quality of appreciation of evidence in the judicial system,” the HC said.

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