Consultation to doctor over telephone-mobile-whatsapp punishable, is advisory

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Image source social media
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Brief Outline: A viral message on the social media claims that, Do not consult your doctor over phone. This is punishable under IPC Section 304

Facts Check: Fake / Rumor / False / Not true

What is Viral? 

@IndianMedAssn This poster is being shared on social media. I would like to point out an error: "Do not consult your doctor over phone. This is punishable under IPC Section 304." It sends out a wrong message that patients would be punished for consulting doctors on phone/Whatsapp

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Facts Check Analysis: The picture about warning people over consultation to a doctor over telephone, mobile, whatsapp is doing the rounds. The message claims that doing such can be punishable as well. The poster reads, “As per directions of the High Court, no consultation on telephone, mobile or WhatsApp.” It further adds, “Do not consult your doctor on the phone. This is punishable under IPC Section 304.”

The news was published in online news Mumbai Mirror on 4th Aug 2018. Going by the article reported on Mumbai Mirror it is quite clear that this is only a advisory.  The article clearly states that “The Maharashtra chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has issued an advisory to doctors to avoid phone consultations. The advisory says that only in grave emergencies, and that too when the doctor is aware of the concerned patient’s medical history, should advice be dispensed over the phone.”

The reason behind this was a ongoing case being heard by the Bombay High Court where two Ratnagiri-based Dr Deepa Pawaskar and her husband Dr Sandeep Pawaskar in a medical negligence case on the ground that the doctor had committed a grave mistake by prescribing medicines over the phone. A patient whom they prescribed medication for over the phone died days after giving birth. In February this year, a women gave birth to a baby at Pawaskars’ hospital. A day after she was discharged, the new mom took ill and when her family called Dr Pawaskar she asked them to go to a drug store and get the chemist to call her. Dr Pawaskar prescribe medicines over the phone to her patient, she continued to treat her over the phone when she was brought back to her hospital.

The viral poster is not an official statement by the IMA, the Indian Medical association has in fact issued an advisory to all doctors in Maharashtra, asking them to “not offer consultations on phone or text and any consultations without meeting the patient first.”

The court also observed that there was an error in diagnosis could be negligence and covered under Section 304A of the Indian Penal Code and the same may not be applicable to other doctors or proceedings as well.



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