Jail for docs who turn away rape victims
Mumbai: Doctors and medical practitioners in Maharashtra, who deny free medical treatment to survivors of sex abuse and acid attacks, now run the risk of being booked under Section 166 (b) of the Indian Penal Code. This comes as a guideline from the Public Health department, and the section envisages maximum imprisonment up to one year or with fine or both. This will also be applicable to minors under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012. Medical practitioners will also have to prepare a report.
Mumbai: Doctors and medical practitioners in Maharashtra cannot deny free medical treatment to the survivors of sex abuse and acid attacks. In the event of a denial, they will be punished under Section 166 (b) of the Indian Penal Code which envisages the maximum imprisonment up to one year or with fine or both.
The state public health department has issued fresh guidelines on January 10 to the effect. They will also be applicable for free medical treatment to minor survivors under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.
Doctors and medical practitioners will have to prepare a report and collect samples from the survivors within 96 hours, say the norms.
State public health department Under Secretary Roshani Kadam-Patil told DNA, “Departments of medical education and food and drugs, urban development and law have been asked to give instructions to all hospitals under their respective jurisdiction for providing free treatment to victims of sex abuse, acid attack and minors under POCSO. Similar instructions need to be given to private hospitals.’’ She said doctors will have to seek prior permission, understand past history, collect samples, inform the police and provide psychiatric counselling to survivors.
Vikas Adhyayan Kendra’s senior member Renuka Kad insisted that there is a need for orientation, sensitization and training to all medical staff
including government and private hospitals for the better implementation of these guidelines.
The Indian Medical Association’s former secretary (Maharashtra) Dr Parthiv Sanghvi said no doctor will leave the survivors of sex abuse or acid attack in the lurch. “But punitive action due to lack of properly laid down criteria regarding permission for the various extent of treatment should be properly defined. Consent for any major medical procedure should also be defined if the patient is incapable of giving proper consent,’’ he opined.
However, Dr Sanghvi informed that the complete treatment encompasses surgical, medical, plastic surgery and psychiatric rehabilitation of the person. The entire duration of treatment can extend to months or at times years. ‘’Who will bear this lengthy treatment cost in a smaller hospital and nursing homes which do not have provision for the indigent fund?’’