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412-                                              MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE

as dichotomy or fee sharing, and may render him liable to have his name
erased from the Medical Register.


Ordinarily, it may be presumed that a medical practitioner should at
once communicate to the police any information about a criminal act that
might have come to his knowledge in his professional work, but this is not
always the case. He should not play the part of a detective, but use his
own discretion. For instance, he should hand over to the police a man,
whom, from the nature of his injury, he may suspect to be <an assailant in a
murder case. If he happens to treat a person who has attempted to commit
suicide, he is not bound by law to report him to the proper authorities', but
he has to inform the police if he happens to die. If the friends or relatives
of the suicide undertake to carry the information to the police, he must see
that they do.

A medical practitioner is not legally obliged to give information to the
police-officer or magistrate of the-commission of, or of the intention of any
other person to commit the offence of criminal miscarriage under section
44 of the Criminal Procedure Code of India, which makes the keeping back
of information of several other .offences punishable (vide Appendix III). If
he is called in to treat a woman on whom an illegal operation has been
attempted or performed to procure miscarriage, he must give his best
attention hi examining her, must make a careful record of her general con-
dition and o£ the signs present .in her genital organs and must immediately
call in another practitioner for consultation. If the woman's condition is so
serious that she is about to die, he must-arrange to record her dying
declaration as to the cause" of her condition.

' -       -             DUTIES OF A PATIENT

When a patient employs a medical practitioner for the treatment of his
slilment, he may4 reasonably be expected to supply his doctor with complete ,
information concerning the facts and circumstances of the case, to allow him
full opportunity for his* own treatment, to obey his instructions and carry
out his directions to the very lettetf as regards his diet, medicine, mode of
life, and to pay him a reasonable fee for his services.


Malpraxis defined as want of reasonable care and skill, or wilful negli-
gence on the-part of a medical practitioner in the treatment of a patient SQ
as to lead to his bodily injury or to the loss of his life. An action for
malpraxis may be brought against a medical practitioner in a civil or
criminal court. For the convenience ,of description malpraxis is therefore
classified as civil or criminal malpraxis. * *                                             r

Civil Malpraxis.—This is-a form -of malpraxis in which a patient brings
an Action for damages in a civil court against his medical attendant, if fie
has suffered injury in consequence of negligence or unskilled treatm«k
The liability of the medical attendant is not decreased by the fact that he
treated his patient gratuitously in a charitable hospital, but the burden of
proving negligence to establish his case rests always on the plaintiff.

The law presumes that a person who enters the medical profession
undertakes to use a reasonable degree of skill, care and knowledge in the
treatment of Ms patient to the best of his judgment, but he is not liable for
an error of judgment. A general medical practitioner is expected to use
only the average degree of slpll and knowledge whi^b other general medical
practitioners of Ms qualifications use, but he;is not ^xpected to perform a