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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 11-15

Medical professionals and patients: The legal relationship in India

1 Department of Community Medicine, AFMC, Pune, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Pathology, INHS Patanjali, Karwar, Karnataka, India
3 Department of ENT, 166 Military Hospital, Jammu and Kashmir, India

Correspondence Address:
Neeti Goyal
Department of Pathology, INHS Patanjali, Karwar, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mjdrdypu.mjdrdypu_101_19

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Background: Medical professionals being subject to law suits is increasing at feverish pace in India. Knowledge of Law applicable to medical care givers will not only keep them in good stead in court of law but also help in avoiding court cases by taking corrective measures in time. Issues: Professional negligence is at the heart of any medical law suit. It can be civil or criminal. It can be countered by the medical professional with contributory negligence, in which patient himself is responsible wholly or partly for the harm. Also, hospitals and employer can be made responsible, by virtue of Vicarious responsibility. Redressal: Institutions from where a patient can ask for redressal are Medical Council of India, Consumer Protection Courts, Civil Courts, Criminal Courts and Military Courts. MCI can suspend registration of medical practitioner for varying period of time and Consumer court can give monetary relief to the patient. Care giver who gives care completely free of cost is exempted under Consumer Protection Act. Civil and Criminal courts have powers to sentence convicted medical practitioner of fine or imprisonment or both. Action Skills: Medical professionals can avoid law suits against them by good communication with patients and relatives, meticulous record keeping, taking real consent, meeting BRAND criteria, following standard protocols, avoiding negative criticism of fellow care givers and keeping themselves abreast with laws and acts of the land.

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