Saturday, April 2, 2011
Doctor: Bad penmanship endangers patients (Canada)
"A leading Canadian doctor says medical professionals' indecipherable writing on prescriptions and medical charts puts patients at "totally unacceptable" risk. Dr. Louis Francescutti, president of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, cited the case of a Nova Scotia nurse reprimanded in the past month for his illegible handwriting, Postmedia News reported. Wilfred Douglas Gordon was ordered by the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia to take a documentation course after the organization found his writing on nurses' notes and patients' charts was unreadable. "But in 2011 it's totally unacceptable that we're still handwriting -- that's how the monks did it," Francescutti said. "Everything should be dictated or typed." Francescutti offered a simple solution to rid hospitals of the sloppy writing that has plagued the medical profession. "If you pull out a physician's chart and you can't read what it says, they shouldn't get paid for that procedure," he said. "Patients' lives are actually in danger by misinterpretation of drug dosage or a procedure. It's totally inexcusable." The importance of legible writing is taught in medical schools, Francescutti said, but "the people that teach it are the ones that can't write either."