MEDICO LEGAL CASE – AN OVERVIEW

Medico Legal Case

WHAT IS MEDICO LEGAL CASE?

  • A Medico-Legal Case can be defined as a case of injury or ailment, etc., in which investigations by the law-enforcing agencies are essential to fix the responsibility regarding the causation of the injury or ailment.
  • It is a medical case with legal implications for the attending doctor where the attending doctor, after eliciting history and examining the patient, thinks that some investigation by law enforcement agencies is essential.
  • It may be a legal case requiring medical expertise when brought by the police for examination.

DOCTOR’S DUTY

  • Every doctor under law bound by a contract to serve its patient and can not refuse treatment.
  • Every doctor has to fulfill certain legal requirements in service by compulsion or voluntarily as defined under law.
  • Medico legal case (MLC) examination and reporting is one of the legal responsibility of all doctors working in a hospital.

In the judgment of case Parmananda Katara Vs Union of India, the apex court said:

“ Every doctor is bound to provide medical aid to the victims irrespective of the cause of injury; he cannot take any excuse of allowing law to take its course”.

LIST OF MEDICO-LEGAL CASE

  • All cases of injuries and burns -the circumstances of which suggest commission of an offense by somebody. (irrespective of suspicion of foul play)
  • All vehicular, factory or other unnatural accident cases specially when there is a likelihood of patient’s death or grievous hurt.
  • Cases of suspected or evident sexual assault.
  • Cases of suspected or evident criminal abortion.
  • Cases of unconsciousness where its cause is not natural or not clear.
  • All cases of suspected or evident poisoning or intoxication.
  • Cases referred from a court or otherwise for age estimation.
  • Cases brought dead with improper history creating suspicion of an offense.
  • Cases of suspected self-infliction of injuries or attempted suicide.
  • Any other case not falling under the above categories but has legal implications.

PROCEDURE FOR REGISTERING A MEDICO LEGAL CASE

  • TREATMENT (All legal formalities to be suspended till the patient is resuscitated)
  • IDENTIFICATION (Whether the said case falls under Medico Legal Case or not)
  • INTIMATION TO POLICE (if it does fall in this category, then he must register the case as an MLC and/ or intimate the same to the nearest police station, either by telephone or in writing.)
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENT RECEIPT (From the police should be received for future reference.)

REPORTING OF MEDICO LEGAL CASE

  • Reports must be prepared in duplicate on proper pro-forma giving all necessary details
  • Avoid abbreviations, over writings. Correction if any, should be initialed with date and time.
  • Reports must be submitted to the authorities promptly.
  • Medico-legal documents should be stored under safe custody for 10 years
  • Age, sex, father’s name, complete address, date and time of reporting, time of incident, brought by whom.
  • Identification marks and finger impressions
  • All MLC to be informed to the police for taking legal evidence
  • If the patient is dying, inform the magistrate to record ‘dying declaration’.

CONCLUSION

  • In any of the medico-legal cases, it is the legal duty of the treating doctor to report it to the nearest police station immediately after completing primary lifesaving medical care.
  • This is in accordance with Section 39 of Criminal Procedure Code of India.
  • The idea is to initiate the legal proceeding at the earliest is so that maximum evidence can be collected by the police officer.
  • Quick action by the police also helps to avoid the destruction of evidence by the treating physician.

Written By

SOUVIK DHAR
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR IN LAW
IILS

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