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28th June, 2017
Negligence vs wilful negligence

Medical negligence is lack of reasonable degree of care & skill or wilful negligence on the part of a medical practitioner while treating a patient resulting in bodily injury, ill-health or death (damage) such as failure to remove swabs/instruments during surgery; failure to give ATS in case of injury causing tetanus; breaking the needle during injections; mismatched blood transfusion; amputation of wrong finger; operation on wrong limb or removal of wrong organ; loss of use of hand by prolonged splinting; prescribing an overdose or poisonous medicine producing ill-effect. 
 
A simple medical negligence is failure to exercise reasonable degree of care and skill that an ordinary competent person would normally be expected to exercise under the circumstances. 
 
"The three essential components of negligence are: Duty, breach and resulting damage. 
  • The existence of a duty to take care, which is owed by the defendant to the complainant; 
  • The failure to attain that standard of care, prescribed by the law, thereby committing a breach of such duty; and 
  • Damage, which is both causally connected with such breach and recognised by the law, has been suffered by the complainant." 
'Gross negligence' does not mean the absence of ordinary care; gross negligence is negligence of very high degree or reckless disregard for the safety of the patient.
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Patients who trust their doctors more likely to follow treatment
  • Important to restore confidence and trust for the profession in patients 
  • Stringent action must be taken against quacks who are damaging the nobility of the profession
New Delhi, 27 June 2017: According to a study conducted recently this year, patients with high blood pressure who had more trust in the medical profession were more likely to take their medication than those with less trust. People with higher levels of trust took their blood pressure medicine 93% of the time versus 82% of the time for those who had lower levels of trust. Additionally, having trust in the medical profession has been linked to greater resilience (ability to adapt to difficult life circumstances) and better health-related quality of life.

In medical practice, the very foundation of the relationship between a doctor and his patient is trust. It is a fiduciary (derivative of the Latin word for 'confidence' or 'trust') relationship. Both sides need to have mutual trust for positive treatment outcomes. However, in the present scenario, this trust is waning away and the doctor-patient relationship is no longer held sacrosanct as before.
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