NEW DELHI: In the medical field, the Head of Department (HoD) and the Director of an institution or hospital should know about the sickness of a patient and nature of treatment being provided, the High Court has held. A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jasmeet SIngh said that sharing a patient’s ailment and treatment details by the treating doctor with the HoD or the Director of the institution does not constitute a breach of confidential information, rather it is meant for the welfare of the patient.
“On the contrary, such consultation may prove helpful in giving treatment to the patient…,” the court said. The observation by the bench came on a woman’s plea seeking directions that details of the mental illness of her son, who is being treated at the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IH BAS), and his treatment be not shared with third parties.
The woman had initially moved a plea before a single judge seeking directions to IH BAS to maintain the confidentiality and privacy of the medical records of her son. IHIH B AS had assured the court that the medical records could be accessed only by the treating doctors, HoD and the Director of the institution and based on the assurance the single judge had disposed of the woman’s application that records be only accessed by treating doctors.
Against the single judge’s April 28 order, she moved the division bench which on May 3 said that under the Mental Healthcare Act of 2017 an exception has been carved out with regard to sharing of medical information with other health professionals so that proper care and treatment can be provided to the patient. The bench further said, “In our view also, it ought to be kept in mind that the HoD and the Director of IHIHBAS ought to know the nature of sickness and the treatment of the patient.
“This is for the welfare of the patient. It ought to be kept in mind that to ensure whether the treatment is going in the correct direction or not, it has to be monitored by the Head of the Department and the Director of the IH BAS.”