Bad communication behind rise in medical negligence charges

24 April, 2016

Minister for Health and Family Welfare U.T. Khader has said that there was an increase in the number of court cases on medical negligence owing to the lack of proper communication between doctors and patients. He was speaking after inaugurating ‘Ateeta-2016, the 28th State-level convention of Karnataka Government Medical Officers’ Association at Shivamogga Institute of Medical Sciences in the city, on Saturday.

He said that many times, owing to the work pressure, doctors were not be able to apprise patients’ relatives of their medical condition, the risks involved in the treatment and surgery and on post-surgical care. If the patient succumbs, the relatives, because of lack of proper information, blame the doctors for the death and file complaints for medical negligence. These litigations will demoralise the doctors and have an adverse impact on their performance also. The problem can be avoided if doctors and patients share a better relationship, he said.

Mr. Khader added that medical professionals should work with service mindedness. Apart from providing medical treatment, the doctors should also counsel patients and instil confidence in them. Expressing concern over the increase in the incidents of assault on medical professionals, Mr. Khader said that he had discussed the issue with Home Minister G. Parameshwara too. He cautioned that stern action would be taken as per the law against those involved in assaults on doctors and in damaging the property of medical establishments.

Mr. Khader agreed that the workload on doctors serving at primary health centres (PHCs) in rural areas has increased after National Rural Health Mission and other health schemes were launched. In addition to discharging their core responsibility of extending medical treatment, the doctors are also assigned administrative responsibilities like maintaining the accounts related to these schemes. The department is contemplating appointing administrative staff to maintain the accounts at PHCs, he said.

Mr. Khader said that if sub-standard medicines are provided to PHCs, the doctors should immediately intimate the department in this regard. The department would initiate stern action against persons responsible for the supply of sub-standard drugs, he said.

On the occasion, President of the Association Veerabhadraiah T.A. announced that the doctors serving at government-run hospitals in the State would donate a day’s salary to the Chief Minister’s relief fund.

These funds would be utilised in taking up relief works in drought-affected areas in the State.

D.H. Shankaramurthy, Chairman of State Legislative Council, Kimmane Rathnakar, Minister of State for Primary and Secondary Education, K.B. Prasanna Kumar, Shivamogga MLA, MLC R. Prasanna Kumar and Shalini Rajaneesh, Principal Secretary of Department of Health and Family Welfare were present at the convention.