n Obstetrics and Gynaecology Forum - Keeping out of trouble - the 12 Cs : review

Volume 24, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1027-9148



Keeping out of trouble is in a doctor's best interest, however it is often easier said than done. This paper concentrates on key concepts - all beginning with the letter C - that may help the doctor avert trouble and complaints. The 12 Cs are communication, consent, clinical records, confidentiality, careful prescribing, chaperone, clerical issues, conduct, competence, cause analysis, cover and common sense. The clustering of important words around the letter C can be taken even further. What do clinicians wish to avert? Complaints, Council (HPCSA), claims, Coroner's (to borrow from the Northern hemisphere vernacular) inquests and criminal matters. In the last four medicine and law intersect. With respect to the HPCSA a patient may lay a complaint with the Council criticising a doctor's conduct or the care given. Although not strictly speaking legal the proceedings are quasi-legal in nature, and extremely important to the doctor as an adverse finding may interfere with registration and the ability to earn an income. When a patient sues, the doctor becomes involved in civil litigation. Alternatively, following a death, the doctor may be involved in an inquest. Finally, although criminal allegations involving clinicians are rare and usually restricted to allegations of indecent assault, or culpable homicide, their consequences are grave.

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