Legal liability of a doctor/hospital does not end with the d
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Legal liability of a doctor/hospital does not end with the death of a patient...
Providing proper medical records and investigation reports to friends/attendants/relatives, issuing death certificate or handing over the dead body for postmortem, raising a proper bill of the treatment, preserving the medical records of a deceased patient for a period of three years are instances of the duties and responsibilities of the doctor that continue vis-?-vis the patient even after the patient's death. Following precautions have been advised by the Court:

Hospitals and nursing homes must exercise proper discretion in admitting every patient, especially critical ones. If there is even an iota of doubt that the requisite infrastructure or proper consultants would not be available and that too in time, it is advisable to refuse admission rather than admitting a patient

Inability to provide due care to a patient after admitting is negligence. Any defense to the effect that the patient was admitted because of referral from another doctor/hospital will not stand legal scrutiny. The admitting hospital has to be confident that the requisite facilities are in place to manage the patient

In case there is insistence from the patient's side to admit the patient in spite of being informed about deficiencies in the infrastructure or services available in the hospital or nursing home, then it is advisable to take a written undertaking from the patient of having received the said information and yet choosing to get admitted

But in critical cases or the ones that require specialized treatment, the patient must be outright refused admission even if he or she is ready to give the said undertaking. Emergency would be an exception to the aforesaid

After admitting a critical patient, proper consultant/s must immediately check the patient physically and start treatment. Due care must be taken in specifically recording the time of admission and when the consultant/s first examined the patient after admission

Original referral letter/note must be taken by the admitting hospital and
duly preserved in the medical records of the patient

Proper protocols must be formulated and followed to ensure that there is
no mixing up of investigation reports as it is negligence per se

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