The objective of this study was to assess the quality of the medical contribution to patient records in a children's department. It was carried out in a tertiary level teaching hospital. A structured audit of 100 randomly selected case records, with independent observers using a grading system for 3 of the measures, was performed. The outcome provides a comparison with the hospital's guidelines for case histories and notes. The results of this study show inadequate documentation of basic information. Communication was hindered by poor hand writing and the use of abbreviations. Overall comprehension of the course of the patients' illnesses was regarded as only fair to average. Recording of diagnosis and initial plans of management were present in over 70% of records. While discharge information was well recorded, the recommendation for the duration of drug therapy was inadequate. Mediocre handwriting and poor documentation are still prevalent in medical records. Strict supervision of this important area of medical practice is mandatory.