Thank you Ms. Maneka Gandhi for an intelligent PCPNDT approach!

(c) Dr. Rajas Deshpande

A pregnant female suddenly had worst headache of her life yet, and vomitings. As there is a tendency of blood clotting in the brain’s veins during pregnancy, it was mandatory to get an MRI and start blood thinners if there was a clot. Otherwise it could turn fatal. She was referred to the nearest private hospital by a doctor, but they declined to do the MRI of a pregnant woman as their machine was not authorised for imaging of the pregnant. The patient’s husband frantically kept on searching for an ambulance to take the patient to a “registered” MRI center 2 hours away. The traffic was worse than normal, clogging roads. Medicines that can be used in pregnancy are limited, her headache was worsening. She was becoming drowsy. The husband requested the doctor to do the MRI on “humanitarian basis” and start treatment, but there is no provision for ‘exception or emergency’ in some laws about radiological studies in pregnant women. A radiologist “BEING HUMAN” to help in her case would risk jail and defamation in the cruellest media language.

She reached the hospital with a “registered machine” after two hours. After all the paperwork, she was taken for MRI. The venous block had caused bleeding by then, by increased back pressure.

The nightmare of imaging in a pregnant woman has eaten up all other aspects in the care of a pregnant woman, with a misplaced blame upon the doctor for female foeticide.

(c) Dr. Rajas Deshpande

Ms. Maneka Gandhi’s comments today towards legitimisation of sex determination and the subsequent monitoring of the female-foetus pregnancy appears a step in the right direction, and must be pursued by the medical community. Keep a record of each pregnancy and then bring to the books parents who opt for abortion, with allopathic or traditional, non-documented ways of termination of such pregnancy.

No doctor decides or forces to terminate a pregnancy because of the sex of the foetus. It is the parent’s decision to abort. There is no question that if a doctor is found aiding female foeticide in any way, he/she should be legally punished. Female foeticide is extremely cruel and orthodox practice and must be ended completely. However, the tendency to label only the doctors as criminals in the whole process – opting for USG and deciding to abort a female child – is preposterous.

The orthodox society which opts for female foeticide is the culprit here, not the doctors. However, since the act came into action, it is only the doctors who have faced the brunt and heat of legal proceedings. This is because of the misuse of this act to make the paperwork the most important aspect about it rather than the desired outcome. Let every doctor compulsorily report to the law any couple who has requested termination of pregnancy, let the law take a call. But then the judges will have to be on-call 24/7 for such crucial decisions on emergency basis.

It would be interesting to know how many parents who decided to opt for termination of female-foetus pregnancy were tried or punished. There also should be a 24/7 legal help cell for doctors in cases like one mentioned above.

The medical bodies fighting to improve the PCPNDT proceedings must take this forwards.

(c) Dr. Rajas Deshpande

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