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How is this journal made
  From the Editors desk (January, 2009 issue)

Dear subscribers,

On behalf of the editorial and publishing team I thank all of you for your valuable patronage on this first anniversary of Medical Law Cases – For Doctors (MLCD).

One query that has been frequently received by us – “How is this journal made” needs to be answered first. This question is but natural because even though by definition MLCD is a law reporter, it is meant for doctors and not lawyers.

MLCD presently has 16 teams of advocates spread all over India, as judgments are delivered by one Supreme Court, one National Consumer Commission, twenty six State Consumer Commissions and twenty two High Courts. These teams collect, sort, and send copies of judgments to the editorial office where once again the judgments are sorted.

Judgments on procedural laws as well as those that are irrelevant from a doctor’s perspective are removed. The remaining judgments are then sent to three teams headed by Advocate Anil Nair in Cochin, Advocate Vishnu Joshi in Ahmedabad, and Advocate Balaji Srinivasan in New Delhi where they are summarized in the ‘Abstract and Advice’ and sent back to the editorial office.

These ‘Abstract and Advice’ are then discussed by the editorial team comprising of advocates and doctors including our publisher Dr. D. K. Sahu. The focus at all times is on ‘Suggested precautions’ and valuable inputs of the editorial team endeavors to make it more practically useful to doctors in their day-to-day practice.

One more clarification also needs to be given as we regularly receive comments from our subscribers that a particular precaution is not reflected in the judgment. At times it is so. Rather than sticking to any technical issue the editorial policy is to make the journal more practically useful to doctors. This is sought to be achieved by incorporating more and more precautions that guide doctors in areas of potential dangers even if they cannot be gathered from the judgment.

The personal experience of the editorial team which has the best advocates in medical laws is put to use in drafting these precautions. Two instances will prove the point.

In one instance when the editorial team was discussing the case of G. Balakrishna Pai & Anr v/s Sree Narayana Medical Mission General Hospital and T. B. Clinic & Ors (Page No. a94 / j291 – July, 2008 issue), Mr. Jai Chinai, Senior Advocate (Chairman of Institute of Medicine & Law), who is not a member of the editorial board was present.

He recounted a case where his opinion was sought by a hospital. The defense of the hospital was that the time in the duty nurse’s watch was different from that in the hospital’s watch and hence there was some admitted discrepancy in recording of time in medical record of the patient. Interestingly, the nurse’s watch was in accordance with the watch of the suburban trains of Mumbai and not that of the hospital. The editorial board realized this as a potential area of threat to hospitals and nursing homes and accordingly drafted the precaution - ”All the watches that are used for recording time in a hospital/nursing home (wrist, table or wall) must be synchronized, i.e. they must have the same time. Moreover, medical, para-medical, and nursing staff must be duly instructed to note and record the time from only such watches, which are synchronized.”, This issue however cannot be found in the judgment.

All advocates who appear in cases of medical negligence will agree that the fi rst customary allegation made by patients against doctors is about consent forms – difference in handwriting or ink, signature on blank consent forms, etc. Thus, the personal experience of advocate-members of the editorial board found an expression in the following precaution though the same cannot be culled from the judgment – “Consent form must be fi lled by one doctor/nurse, in one sitting, if possible without changing the pen though counseling the patient may take more than one sitting.” (Dr. Ajay Kumar Gupta v/s Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences & Anr, Page No. a138 / j431 – October 2008 issue)

I hope that more such queries and suggestions will be directed to us so that we are able to make MLCD even more useful to the medical fraternity.

Thank you and best wishes for the ‘New Year’.

Mahendra Bajpai
Advocate Supreme Court of India

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