Sloppy medical scribbles may compromise health, say experts

It’s “totally unacceptable” that Canadian medical professionals’ garbled scribbles on prescriptions and hospital charts continue to put patients at risk, one of the country’s leading doctors said on Thursday.

Dr. Louis Francescutti, the president of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, made his comments following the case of a Nova Scotia nurse who was reprimanded for his illegible handwriting. Earlier this month, the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia ordered Wilfred Douglas Gordon to complete a documentation course after finding his writing on nurses’ notes and patients’ charts was unintelligible.

“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.”

The Nova Scotia nurses’ complaints committee found that Gordon’s penmanship was poor enough to put his patients at risk. [continued…]

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