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Medico-legal: Is staff consent necessary for work during pandemic to avoid compensation claims?

M3 India Newsdesk May 28, 2020

Dr. MC Gupta throws light on a very pertinent aspect about taking consent from healthcare staff for working shifts during the COVID-19 pandemic and drafting agreements on compensation claims for employees who may have contracted the infection.

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QUESTION--Should a doctor take consent from the staff to work during the pandemic in order to avoid compensation claims later? If yes, what would be status of compensation in such cases? Is an affidavit from each employee necessary?

Dr MC Gupta answers- 

1--Contracting a disease while on duty in a health facility is a professional hazard known to all health workers/doctors. If they join duty, they would be assumed to have consented to such hazards.

2--For the sake of abundant precaution, you may issue a circular/notice for all staff apprising them of the need to take precautions during the pandemic.

3—In the above circular, or separately, you may also bring to their notice the provisions announced by the government for compensation if a staff member develops the disease.

4—When issuing an appointment letter, you may specify as one of the terms and conditions of service that no compensation will be payable by the hospital in case an employee contracts infection. Please note that an appointment letter is a sort of agreement between the hospital and the employee.

5—However, the above does not absolve the hospital from its responsibility to provide necessary infection control facilities to the staff.

6—I have not yet come across a case where an employees of a hospital might have sued the hospital claiming compensation.

7—No individual affidavits are necessary.


Disclaimer- The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of M3 India.

Content from the writer has been directly replicated on the website. No edits have been made.

The writer, Dr. MC Gupta is a practising lawyer.He also has an MD Medicine from AIIMS, Delhi where he worked as a faculty member for 18 years, later working another 10 years as a Professor and Dean at National Institute of Health and Family Welfare, New Delhi, before pursuing law.

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