Monday, 26 June 2017

Inform your patients before traveling

Inform your patients before traveling The doctor-patient relationship is a sacred relationship. This relationship is initiated when the patient comes to the doctor, who in turn agrees to treat him. This ‘implied contract’ imposes on the doctor a legal duty to exercise due skill and care in providing medical treatment. Once a doctor takes on the care of the patient, he also has a duty to provide continuity of care when he is traveling or is unable to attend to the patient. The ‘fiduciary’ nature of the relationship, one that is based on trust, which the patient reposes in his doctor also places an ethical obligation on the doctor to always put the interests of the patient first. Patients rely on doctors for help in their time of need. Regulation 1.2.1 of MCI Code of Ethics requires that “…Physicians should merit the confidence of patients entrusted to their care, rendering to each a full measure of service and devotion.” So, before you undertake a case, if you are planning a visit out of town or a vacation, you still need to take care of your patients. Communication is the key to developing and nurturing the trust in a doctor-patient relationship. So, if you are going to be away on a vacation or for a conference etc. also convey the same to your patient. Inform them about the duration of time you would be away and the dates of your departure and return. If you have arranged for another physician to take care of your patients in your absence, then share the names, along with his or her credentials and training, with your patients also. This enables the patient to make an informed decision, whether to continue with you as his doctor. Before doing a surgery, the patient must know that you would not be there for his postop care. Take an informed consent of the patient, otherwise avoid doing the surgery. A physician is required to be “diligent in caring for the sick” (MCI Regulation 1.1.2). Once having undertaken a case, the physician should not neglect the patient, nor should he withdraw from the case without giving adequate notice to the patient and his family (MCI Regulation 2.4). Failing to do so might put you at risk for a medical malpractice claim. Dr KK Aggarwal National President IMA & HCFI Dr K K Aggarwal Recipient of Padma Shri, Vishwa Hindi Samman, National Science Communication Award, Dr B C Roy National Award & FICCI Health Care Personality of the Year Award National President IMA Vice President Confederation of Medical Associations of Asia and Oceania Past Honorary Secretary General IMA Past Senior National Vice President IMA President Heart Care Foundation of India Gold Medallist Nagpur University Limca Book of Record Holder in CPR 10 Honorary Professor of Bioethics SRM Medical College Hospital & Research Centre Sr. Consultant Medicine & Cardiology, Dean Board of Medical Education, Moolchand Editor in Chief IJCP Group of Publications & eMedinewS Member Ethics Committee Medical Council of India (2013-14) Chairman Ethics Committee Delhi Medical Council (2009-15) Elected Member Delhi Medical Council (2004-2009) Chairman IMSA Delhi Chapter (March 10- March 13) Director IMA AKN Sinha Institute (08-09) Finance Secretary IMA (07-08) Chairman IMAAMS (06-07) President Delhi Medical Association (05-06)

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