Can the medico-legal reports (MLRs) and post-mortem reports (PMRs) be not typed on computers or a typewriter by stenographers to be made available with the doctors instead of the existing norm of writing them by hand? The Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked the Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh health secretaries to reply to the query.
“In the opinion of this court…that would not just make fully legible documents available to all courts but that would also save precious time of doctors whose primary duty naturally is to look after patients. Especially in hospitals with a high volume of patients, obviously the time saved in dictating rather writing out reports, can be be very well spent on examining other patients,” reads the order passed by Justice Amol Rattan Singh.
The order has been passed by the bench after taking note of the Punjab health department secretary submission that MLRs and PMRs are first prepared by hand at the first instance by the attending medical officer and thereafter the documents are uploaded online by the technical experts within two weeks. When the challan is filed in the court, the government has said the investigating officer is supposed to take the copy.
However, the court observed that no data has been produced by the government to show whether all MLRs and PMRs are actually uploaded within two weeks. Seeking the data regarding uploading,the court has asked that if it is found that “commensurate uploading” is not being done for any technical or other reasons, it be stated in a reply that why MLRs or PMRs be not typed on a computer or a simple typewriter with aide of stenographers – “possibly with one stenographer to two or three doctors depending upon the workload in each hospital” – till the technology of uploading is not made available to all health centres of Punjab. The stenographer can be made available on rotation for night duty, the court has suggested.
“The Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Haryana, as also the Principal Secretary, Health, UT Chandigarh, will also file their response as to why such decision be not given by this court on the next date of hearing,” the court has said while adjourning the matter to January 28, adding the officers will be summoned in case the replies are not filed.
The question has been asked by the single bench in pursuance of its earlier orders in which the authorities were asked to ensure that the MLRs and PMRs are all in typed out or computerized format. The court had noted that virtually on a daily basis MLRs and PMRs are being shown which are hand written and very often not decipherable. Meanwhile, Punjab has also been asked to respond that why ESI hospitals are not authorized to issue even MLRs.