Jail for docs who turn away rape vic­tims

DNA (Delhi) - - FRONT PAGE - San­jay Jog san­[email protected]­dia.net

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?’’

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