The medical law reporter for Indian Doctors
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Remain Updated on Medical Laws

  Is this journal the need of the hour?

September 24:
In any surgery or procedure, a single consent for both surgery and blood transfusion completed all legal requirements.

September 25:
The same single consent suddenly becomes illegal. The doctor is now required to get two separate consents from the patient. One for surgery or procedure and another for blood transfusion, if anticipated.

This important change in law was brought about by a judgement pronounced by the National Consumer Redressal Forum on September 24. In a case of M. Chinnaiyan v/s Sri Gokulam Hospital & Anr, the Court declared that “Consent of the patient is required for transfusion of blood. … Surgery involves risk and blood transfusion involves additional risk.”

The case amply illustrates that laws are dynamic and keep changing. What is legal today, can become illegal tomorrow or simply a new law may emerge. And since ignorance of law is not a defense, it is upto the individual doctors to keep abreast of the rapidly changing laws and indemnify themselves.

In the current environment where medico legal cases against doctors are witnessing a sharp rise, being abreast of the fast changing laws has become doubly pertinent. Even today there are many doctors who continue with surgical interventions with only a single consent. They do not realize that they are in fact negligent in the eyes of the law and are vulnerable to medico legal litigation.

So how does a doctor remain updated with these fast changing laws?

The shocking but hard fact is, even if the doctor wants to, he cannot.

In India there is one Supreme Court, one National Consumer Commission, twenty six State Consumer Commissions and twenty two High Courts with over 16 circuit and other benches, doling out hundreds of judgements each day. And each of these judgements has the potential to be a new law or change the existing law. The mass of data churned out is so high that no individual doctor can remain updated on his or her own.

To address these lacunas and considering the relevance of the subject and its importance to doctors, Institute of Medicine & Law is publishing this journal. It is indeed the need of the hour for doctors in India.