September 29, 2008

No Forensic Experts to Deal With Medico-Legal Cases

By Parvesh Sharma

Patiala: In spite of the fact that crime against humanity are on the rise and medical investigations of assault, poisoning cases, or unnatural deaths need services of forensic medicine experts, more than 90% medico-legal cases in the state are being dealt by doctors, who are not forensic medicine experts.

Worse, both government medical colleges of Amritsar and Patiala don't have any post of senior resident of forensic medicine. According to Punjab Academy of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology (PAFMAT) sources, even state chemical laboratory at Kharar dealing in poison cases & sexual crime exhibits, is being run by doctors, who are not specialists. Moreover, services of forensic medicine experts working in state health department are not being utilized, which has raised serious doubts over the seriousness of the health department in dealing with medicolegal cases. "The speciality of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology dealing in medico-legal injury and post-mortem cases, is virtually on the verge of collapse," rued a senior doctor on anonymity.

The Medical Council of India, which recently inspected department of forensic medicine of Government Medical College, Amritsar , has not given recognition to the post-graduation degree. Importantly , there is no post of senior resident, required for gaining teaching experience for promotion as assistant professor of forensic medicine, according to the Punjab Medical Education Rules of 1978. The only post of senior residency or registrar in forensic medicine exists in Guru Gobind Singh Medical College, Faridkot, now under Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot.

"The Punjab medical education department should either scrap senior residency system, which is not required for giving teaching experience for promotion as assistant professor, if mandatory regulations of MCI are strictly followed , or create these posts till the outdated Medical Education Rules of 1978 are amended," opined Dr DS Bhuller, state president of PAFMAT , a registered body of forensic medicine specialists.

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