Prescription Panic

Prescription Panic

A principal of a school summons the parents of one of her students. "It’s about Nikhil’s handwriting. It’s atrocious", says the principal. Delighted on hearing this, the mother of the ward says to her husband, "Guess what! I always knew our son is destined to be a doctor". Another old joke explains that doctors go to school to learn how to write illegibly and that pharmacists go to school to learn how to read what doctors write.

But jokes apart, we all know that doctors have the worst hand when it comes to writing. And it is certainly no laughing matter, as it can affect the lives of the patients. It’s strange that despite all the years of school that doctors go through, one thing many never seem to master is good handwriting. Recently a study conducted in United Kingdom analyzed handwriting samples taken from three different groups of health workers. Among all samples, the doctors’ scribble proved to be the least legible. The research, published in the British Medical Journal, was triggered by concern that poor handwriting may lead to prescription errors. The study suggests that doctors, even when asked to be as neat as possible, produce handwriting that is worse than that of other professions.

In such state of affairs, it is heartening to find a doctor whose handwriting is not only legible, but is actually quite tidy. Meet Dr. Mirza Thanawala, MD (Med). Dr. Thanawala is a consulting general physician from Thane’s Jambli Naka area. Dr. Thanawala’s prescriptions are quite legible and his instructions on medication schedules are clear and simple to understand, which ensures that his patients never make a mistake in such a critical matter. When required, this highly qualified doctor even provides instructions in Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati for the patient’s convenience.

According to Dr. Thanawala, "As a doctor, I am conscious of my responsibility towards the well-being of the patients. Bad handwriting can result in serious and irreversible damage to the health or in some cases, even to the life of the patient. No doctor can afford to take this lightly." Indeed, as there are medical cases that prove that illegible prescriptions have led to serious damage to the patient’s health and even death.

In Dr. Thanawala’s opinion, patients too must be proactive. So, to avoid errors on your prescriptions, make sure that on your next visit to a doctor, you take a pen and paper with you. When the doc prescribes the medicine, ask him/her to spell out the name of your medication. Write it down, along with the correct dosage and schedule. Then, when you buy your medicines, compare the labels with your notes.

Health is Wealth goes the old adage and bad handwriting should NOT be the reason for putting such a rare wealth at stake.

Cell Spell
Unlike a few years back, mobile phones have now become so commonplace in metros like Mumbai that we hardly even notice the phone ringing. But for some, the cell phone still casts its magical spell.

A juvenile beggar got into the first class compartment of a CST bound local in Mumbra. It was around noontime on Tuesday. Just as he began his session of begging (by singing Hindi film songs obviously), a passenger’s mobile phone rang. So fascinated was this little boy with the phone that he simply kept gaping at it, forgetting his purpose of being in the train.

When the passenger got off at Thane, the kid woke up from his temporary spell and went back to his normal routine, although still looking entranced. Of course, for the child, the cell phone instrument was nothing less than a magic device.

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