Docs struggle to follow HC order on using computers

Docs struggle to follow HC order on using computers

Govt hospitals say they need staff,equipment

Doctors are finding it hard to implement a recent High Court directive that all medico-legal certificates and post-mortem reports prepared at Delhi government hospitals are typed on computer and pictures taken of victims’ clothes.

Though senior doctors have welcomed the Delhi High Court directions, they say it is difficult to carry out the the directive, given the present state of infrastructure and manpower.

“It is definitely feasible to follow the HC directions. But our hospital management information system will take a long time to put things in order,” said Dr Promila Gupta, medical superintendent, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital.

“Doctors will need to be trained to use computers for entering victims’ data to generate medico-legal certificates,” said Dr Gupta.

She said the hospital will also need to install cameras to take the necessary photographs. “Setting up the entire paraphernalia of gadgets will take a lot of time,” she added.

The Delhi High Court had asked the government to ensure that doctors take photographs of clothes worn by victims of violence as the images are crucial evidence in criminal trials.

“We have a shortage of staff too. Most cases that need medico-legal certificates come at night as they involve incidents like drunken driving. There is only one chief medical officer and one senior resident in the emergency ward at night. Saving lives comes first before paperwork,” said Dr Gupta.

“We must increase the staff strength, as computer operations mean more time per patient,” she added.

Forensic experts say it is important to photograph the clothes of victims.
“Such images are the most important evidence in case of firearm related crimes. If the HC order has come, all formalities must be cleared. Hospitals will have to work in collaboration with the police to carry out the directions,” said Dr T G Dogra, head of forensic science department, AIIMS.

“Every important process must start somewhere and glitches must be corrected. Computerisation of medico-legal certificates and taking photographs of victims are the initial crucial steps. Once the process starts, we will figure out how to go about it. This practice, if implemented, will be good for society. We must go ahead with it,” said Dr C M Khanijo, medical superintendent, Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital.