Nagpur: Almost all the Diagnostic Centres and Radiologists in the city observed the one-day strike. Most of the Diagnostic Centres were closed for the day. While speaking to Nagpur Today, Secretary of Vidarbha Chapter of Maharashtra State Branch of Indian Radiological and Imaging Association (VCMSBIRIA) Dr Sandeep Dhote said that the strike will continue for indefinite period. However, the other diagnostic services MRI, X-Ray and others will continue.
He went on to add that time and again, they have shouldered the responsibility of accurately diagnosing congenital anomalies of the fetus in the womb. Rather than its gender, it is more important for them to know whether the fetus is healthy or not. He claimed that neither do they indulge in sex determination nor do they indulge in female foeticide.
Dr Sandeep Dhote claimed that the PC & PNDT Act was formed to curb the menace of female foeticide. He added that they believe that the act itself has a congenital anomaly in that, that it equates clerical mistakes with the actual act of doing sex determination. Inadvertent errors like leaving a column blank, forgetting to sign the form, not wearing an apron or name-plate, not having a copy of the act in clinic have been used as a pretext by the authorities to seal Ultrasound machines and file criminal cases against the innocent doctors. Not only is the doctor thus robbed of his or her livelihood but also his reputation is shattered as the general public thinks that he/she has done sex-determination and hence is being jailed.
As per NRHM website of Government of Maharashtra, out of the total 512 cases against doctors registered so far in Maharashtra, 402 i.e. almost 80% have been registered for these clerical mistakes.
The other striking Doctors claimed that the basic tenet of Indian Constitution says that nobody should be assumed guilty until proved otherwise. But in this act, the doctor is presumed guilty, his machine sealed, livelihood robbed and reputation shattered and the onus is on him or her to prove that his is not guilty. This when the doctor has not performed any sex determination but is guilty of minor clerical errors. This is why this PC & PNDT Act is a Draconian law.
The Doctors also told that not only doctors but patients, especially the poor illiterate patients, also are put to hardship. Rural patients travel several kilometers to get an ultrasound scan done. Many patients have to go back and bring proper referral slips, some have to go back because they cannot sign. If such patients come in emergency, the paperwork thrusted on doctors proves to be a great impediment for quick disposal of diagnosis and treatment.
The protesting doctors have appealed to the authorities to catch the real culprits and stop harassing the innocent doctors. Since the innocent Radiologists are being continuously harassed by appropriate authorities for minor clerical mistakes, which are being considered equal to sex determination, therefore it has been decided that the members of IRIA are constrained to go on All India Indefinite agitation from September 1, 2016.
Those who spoke to media personnel included president of IMA Dr Avinash Wase, President of NOGS Dr Anuradha Ridhodkar, President of VCMSBIRIA Dr Prashant Onkar, Secretary of IMA Dr Archana Kothari, Secretary NOGS Dr Shilpi Sud and Secretary of VCMSBIRIA Dr Sandeep Dhote.