Provision on Offence relating to Medical Treatment in the Draft Penal Code

It is clear that the whole chapter on Medical Treatment can be classified into following four categories: i. laws regarding treatment ii. laws regarding to medicine iii. laws regarding test/examination reports and iv. laws regarding compensation. The punishment for recklessness and negligence should be clarified i.e. the elements constituting reckless treatment and negligence treatments should be clearly stated in the provisions to avoid ambiguity. Also, licensing of the medicine distribution must be strictly regulated. Further, the provisions regarding the compensation are very vague. Clear methodology or mechanism must be incorporated for calculation of compensation to the victims.

The provisions of medical treatment have seriously failed to address various issues. As one can see, the medical treatment solely focuses on doctor's role and ignores roles of nurses/medical attendants, medicine distributors and administrative personnel of a hospital. Any recklessness or negligence on the part of nurses, hospital administrators or medicine distributor should be brought into this chapter of the Penal Code. Further, the doctors should be directed to prescribe generic name of the medicine instead of company specific medicines. The hospital authorities must be required to incorporate technologies to avoid hand written prescription to avoid confusion at the medicine counter.

There should also be a provision of fast tracking the medical treatment cases. The victims should be adequately compensated for the physical and mental harm suffered by the victim and their family.

The definition of medical practitioner or doctor must be clarified as to exclude 'dhami' and 'jhakri' as the present definition includes them.

A non-obstante clause should be included in the chapter to pave the way for the victim to pursue compensation in civil court under the law of tort. Further, I suggest conducting examination to renew the licences of the medical practitioners on a regular basis.

In addition, the qualification of nurses and medicine distributors should be categorically stated in the chapter.

A strict compliance mechanism must be established to check whether the doctors, nurses and medical distributors meet the requirements of the statute.