Docs ask govt to change sex-determination law

  • Subhendu Maiti, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
  • Updated: Apr 15, 2015 11:03 IST

Radiologists and cardiologists in the city have urged the state government to review the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostics Techniques (PCPNDT) Act — the law that deals with sexdetermination of still-to-be-born children — to save many cardiac patients who suffer from acute pulmonary thrombo embolism or pericardial effusion problems.

The development comes at a time when doctors in Maharashtra and Haryana decided not to perform ultrasonography tests on such patients, except in emergency cases. Supported by the Indian Medical Association (IMA), radiologists, sonologists and cardiologists in these two states will cease work on Wednesday to protest against the arrest of some of their colleagues on charges of violating the PCPNDT Act, a law that was promulgated to prevent female foeticide. Cardiologists and radiologists who perform echocardiography and USG are opposed to “a flaw” in the Act.

“The Act forbids carrying USG and echocardiography machines to any place outside a diagnostic clinic to conduct such tests on patients. While the Act makes such provisions to control and stop sex-determination, the constraint may even turn fatal because cardiac patients with acute pulmonary thrombo embolism or pericardial effusion are not in a condition to be shifted outside intensive care units (ICU) for USG or echocardiography,” RS Ghosh, secretary of the West Bengal Academy of Echocardiography, told HT.

“We don’t know why echo cardiography has been included in the PCPNDT Act. We requested director of health services BR Satpathito take necessary steps to amend the Central Act,” Ghosh said.

“Radiologists point out that only 5% of USG tests done on patients are pregnant women and the rest are for other ailments. USG test is a vital part of clinical diagnosis because it is used to treat hundreds of ailments. Our national body, the Indian Radiological and Imaging Association (IRIA), has already taken up the matter seriously, requesting the Centre to change the Act,” Dr Pranabananda Goswami, state secretary of IRIA, said.

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