Cuttack: The Orissa High Court has asked doctors to write the prescriptions in capital letters and hence make legible for all. The Court noted that normal handwriting creates confusion for not just the patient and its family but also for a pharmacist, other doctors, police, prosecutors and judges who may have to deal with the prescription.
A bench that was headed by Justice SK Panigrahi observed that prescriptions of physicians, OPD slips, post-mortem reports, injury reports among others are required to be legible and fully comprehensible. The High Court also requested the Chief Secretary to Odisha Government to take measures to implement the same. It added that appropriate steps may be taken to create awareness among the medical fraternity involving medico-legal cases, to record their observations and comments in a legible manner.
“This court feels, it is imperative that the entire physician community needs to go an extra mile and make conscious efforts to write in good handwriting preferably in CAPITAL LETTERS. The digital era could also throw open several options to make prescriptions and diagnosis more patient friendly,” the order read.
The High Court bench lauded the medical fraternity for their dedication and their exemplary service during the COVID-19 pandemic. It, however, noted that illegible handwriting can delay treatment and lead to unnecessary tests and inappropriate doses which in turn can, at times, result in fatal consequences.
The Court referred to a 2016 notification by the Medical Council of India which had suggested doctors prescribe drugs with generic names and preferably in capital letters and that he/she shall ensure that there are a rational prescription and use of drugs.
The issue of unreadable prescriptions came to notice when the Court was hearing for a bail application of a man whose wife was suffering from severe gynaecological complexities along with cardio-vascular and haematological problems. The interim bail was sought on the grounds that the lady was living alone and that his presence was needed to attend to her.
The medical reports along with prescriptions were duly submitted by the petitioner. While verifying these documents, the court observed that “prescription by the doctor is pathetically poor legibility and is far beyond the comprehension of any common man or even for this Court which is dealing with the matter.”
The Orissa High Court did grant bail to the said petitioner and passed the order.