Noting wrong name of patient in medical records, doctor’s ‘gross mistake’ holds court

September 21, 2023

What’s in a name? A rose called by any other name is still a rose.

These popular sayings are appropriate only in artistic literature. When it comes to medical care and patient care, a name could mean everything. Mentioning wrong name in patient’s medical records could be held negligence, as happened in this case.  

Irrefutable Facts

The patient suffered from skin rashes and itching. She consulted the doctor who prescribed some medicines and advised certain investigations.

After consuming the medicines, patient’s condition deteriorated. About three months later, she consulted another doctor, a cancer specialist, and was diagnosed with leukaemia. The patient was admitted to a higher centre for cancer treatment and had to remain under treatment for a long time.

The patient sued the doctor and alleged that he prescribed high doses of Methotrexate, a steroid, for three months on a daily basis due to which she suffered severe complications.

Doctors’ Plea

The doctor simply denied patient’s allegations.

Court’s Observations

The State Consumer Commission perused medical records and observed that wrong name was written in the documents (Amina Khatun instead of Samina Khatun). This was held as a ‘gross mistake’.

The court further observed that the doctor had administered excessive steroids and that too thrice a day for three months. The court concluded that this was “inappropriate treatment and diagnosis”.

The doctor was held negligent.

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

  1. India has a unique problem of similar-sounding names. Ensure that patients names are written carefully and correctly.
  2. Prescribe the dosage of medicines strictly in accordance with medical science.

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Source : 15MLCD (j110) Samina Khatun v/s Dr. S.K. Debnath & Ors.

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