The response to questions pertaining to knowledge on the medical ethics, professional misconduct, treatment of patient in emergency were rightly answered by a high percentage of participants whereas knowledge in certain other areas like privileged communication, warning notice, Declaration of Geneva, functions of Indian Medical Graph
From the graph given above showing the magnitude of correct and wrong responses for each question in the questionnaire, it was found that most of the doctors in a city in Dakshina Kannada included in the study were quite aware of the facts on medical ethics, professional misconduct and treatment of patient in emergency. But their knowledge about Privileged Communication, Warning Notice, Declaration of Geneva, functions of Indian Medical Council and Medical Jurisprudence were poor. Some of the doctors who took part in the study
Council, Medical Jurisprudence was found lacking in almost half of the participants.opined that it would familiarize them with medico-legal terms and procedures and also make them aware of the changing laws of the country in practice. The participants also gave the suggestion that they need training for issuing of certificates and conducting postmortem examination. It can be understood from the below given pie-chart that majority of doctors in the study agreed that there is need for further refreshing and updating their knowledge with regard to medico legal practices.
Questions related to knowledge on the medical ethics, professional misconduct, treatment of patient in emergency were rightly answered by a large number of doctors whereas only 38.8 % of participants answered the question on Professional Negligence correctly. And the questions on Medical Jurisprudence, functions of Indian Medical Council, Declaration of Geneva, Warning Notice,
In the study done by Chavda KL and et al on the awareness towards different medico legal terms among the doctors in different areas of Gujarat it was found that 100% of the doctors were aware about the term of Forensic Medicine and Medical Ethics and also 100% of doctors know the exact meaning of Forensic Medicine. Significant numbers of doctors were aware of the term medical jurisprudence and medical jurisprudence. 100% doctors were aware of Indian Medical Council and State Medical Council. Also, most of the doctors were also aware about the Declaration of Geneva, serious professional misconduct, warning notice, privileged communication, doctrine of res ipsa loquitor, vicarious liability and euthanasia .
In another study of medico legal case management in tertiary care hospital, documentation and various other medico legal issues were studied in detail . Also it is important to estimate the awareness of doctors towards different medico legal terms which is done in this present study. The present study can form the basis of further sensitisation programme for attitudes, since mere knowledge about terms does not translate into attitude changes.
Privileged Communication, Products liability, Medical Negligence also received a low score among the subjects. 92.2% of doctors included in the study were in favour of planning and conducting training programme related to legal aspects of practice of medicine.
Overall, there were 648 correct responses, 546 wrong responses and 42 unanswered.
The legal awareness of people providing medical care was questioned in Poland which is similar to our present study . In the cross sectional study regarding knowledge among medical law and its negligence among doctors a self structured questionnaire was developed to assess the awareness of Consumer Protection Act (CPA), 1986 and whether these professionals were following the medico legal aspects . The knowledge of medico legal terms which is done in our present study is also a step towards knowing whether the professionals are following the medico legal aspects.
In order to avoid cases of negligence it is important to take a detailed history and do a thorough physical examination in patient care which was stressed upon in the article "Hospitalised patient's awareness of their rights: a cross sectional survey from a tertiary care hospital on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia." Due to the rising cost of healthcare, increased patient awareness and medico legal issues, doctors are now more accountable to the public than ever before . So it is important that doctors are aware of all the medico legal terms. In the article "Ethics in disorders of consciousness, " the ethical issues related to the concept of consciousness and the medical management of patients with disorders of consciousness, such as comatose, vegetative and minimally conscious states that may be encountered in the intensive care setting were looked into. The problem of pain management and end of life decision making was emphasised in this study . Such situations also require the medical practitioner to be aware of the medico legal terms.
In the study on stressors in Medical College students in Northern Maharashtra a survey of randomly selected medical students of a Medical College in Northern Maharashtra was conducted based on a questionnaire in which demographic data and items examining possible sources of stressors based on the authors experience with medical students and a scale to measure the anxiety experienced by the students studying medicine were given to all the subjects. The majority of stressful incidents in traditional curricula were related to medical training rather than to personal problems. Anxiety is also associated with feeling of loneliness, peer competition, long hours and loss of social time. Family support can be an effective tool for helping medical students coping up with the stressors of their life . The Awareness of medico legal terms is important while trying to understand the factors creating stress in a physician's early life.
AAGA means Accidental Awareness during General Anaesthesia. There is an overarching 'duty of care' on the part of the anaesthetist to the patient in the conduct of general anaesthesia for surgery. A patient who is led to believe that they will definitely be completely unconscious from a certain time point, and who finds that they have not been, will likely feel that the duty of care has been breached . It is important for the physicians to be Aware of 'negligence' and other medico legal terms and thus to prevent incidents of AAGA.
To conclude, the doctors of a city in Dakshina Kannada included in the study were reasonably aware towards medical ethics, professional misconduct, and treatment of patient in emergency. But they lacked sufficient knowledge about Privileged Communication, Warning Notice, Declaration of Geneva, functions of Indian Medical Council and Medical Jurisprudence. The doctors agreed that there is need for planning and conducting training program related to legal medicine.
It will be beneficial for practitioners to attend training programme related to legal aspects of practice of medicine.
Limitations of the Study: The convenience sampling may not be the representative sample of doctors.
Acknowledgement: Author expresses his sincere thanks to all the faculty of his department and also his colleagues for their support and well wishes.
Conflict of Interest: There is no conflict of interest.
Source of Funding: The article does not have any funding issue in its generation.
Ethical Clearance: Ethical clearance was obtained for the study.
1. Medical Juriprudence
A. It is the branch of medicine relating to law.
B. It is the branch of law relating to medicine.
C. It is providing substandard treatment causing harm, injury or death of the patient.
D. It is transformation of healthcare into universal medical alphanumeric codes.
2. Medical Ethics
A. Conversion of voice recorded reports by physicians into text format.
B. Writing scientific documents of different types.
C. System of moral principles that apply values and judgments to the practice of medicine profession.
D. Deals with the conventional laws of couresy observed between members of the medical profession.
3. All are functions of Indian medical council except
A. Maintains the standards of undergraduate medical education.
B. Grants recognition of foreign medical qualifications.
C. Maintains a Medical Register.
D. Execute Penal erasure of registered medical Practitioners Correct answer: D
4. All are covered under Declaration of Geneva except
A. Treatment of prisoners in war.
B. Treatment of ship wrecked individuals
C. Human participants in research.
D. Civilians during combat.
5. A doctor has consumed alcohol and is under its influence while treating a patent.
This amount to
A. Contributory negligence.
B. Serious professional misconduct.
C. Medical maloccurence.
D. Composite negligence.
6. Warning Notice
A. contains practices which fall within the meaning of term ?Serious Professional Mesconduct?
B. Document compelling attendance of a withness in a Court of law under penality.
C. Notice issued if a health inspector believes you are breaking the safety law.
D. Notice which requires you to stop a particular activity immediately.
7. The duties of medical practitioners are all except
A. Duty to exercise a reasonable degree of skill and knowledge.
B. Duties with regards to attendance and examination.
C. Duty to inform the master about the illness of his servant patients.
D. Duty to follow the correct protocol of treatment Correct answer-C
8. Bus driver is suffering from epilepsy and colour blindness ? Doctor should persuade the patient to change his employment, because of dangers of his occupation to himself and to public. If the bus driver fails to do this, the doctor has to inform the employer.
A. Professional secrecy.
B. Professional negligence.
C. Prvileged communication.
D. Vicarious liability.
Correct answer- C
9. All are types of Professional Negligence except
10. Injury or death of patient resulted from unexpected by-product of faulty, defective, of negligently designed medical or surgical instruments or inadequate operating instructions, this is called as
A. therapeutic misadventure.
B. Medical moloccurence.
C. Products liability.
D. Vicarious liability.
Correct answer- C
11. Doctor refused to admit a patient requiring hospitalization even when beds were available which resulted in death of patient. This is an instance of A. Serious professional misconduct.
B. Therapeutic Misadventure.
C. Medical negligence.
D. Medical maloccurence
12. Can a doctor refuse to treat a patient in emergency, because it is a medico legal case?
A. Yes he can.
B. No he cannot.
C. He can if he does not want to give evidence in court. D. He can, if he is very busy
Question related to planning and conducting training programme
1. Do you think there is need for planning and conduction training programme related to legal aspects of Medicine?
If you suggestion is yes, would it
A. Familiarize you with medico legal terms.
B. Familiarize with medico legal Procedures.
C. Make you aware of changing laws of country in practice.
D. Any other; please add a line.