City doctors have criticised the ban on portable ultrasound sonography machines describing it as denial of service to needy patients.
On Thursday, the Bombay high court (HC) upheld the civic body’s prohibition on carrying these machines to patients’ homes. The court dismissed a petition filed by Radiologists and Imaging Association in July challenging a circular issued by the assistant municipal commissioner of Dahisar ward banning portable ultrasound sonography machines.
According to doctors, most sonography centres across the city are shut after 8.30pm and many nursing homes do not have ultrasound machines. “Before such a ban is imposed, the state should make it mandatory for every nursing home to have ultrasound machines,” said Dr Veena Shinde, a gynaecologist.
Shinde said it is important to carry portable machines to nursing homes to deal with complicated cases such as ectopic pregnancies where the foetus get attached to the fallopian tube instead of the uterus.
“The patient can die in such a situation. I cannot operate on a patient without understanding the extent of the complication.”
Dr Swarna Goyal, who practices at Agarwal Nursing Home at Bandra, cited a case where a patient developed complications in the sixth month of the pregnancy and could not move out of her bed because the mouth of the cervix had dilated.
“We had to conduct a sonography every two to three weeks. This would not have been possible without a portable ultrasound machine,” said Dr Goyal.
Health activists have welcomed the order and said that it will help curb sex-selective abortions.
“Ultrasound machines have flooded the market and the government cannot keep track of them. While I do agree that women have to be saved, it cannot be at the cost of girl children,” said Varsha Deshpande, founder member of Lek Laadki Abhiyaan, a non-government organisation that started clamping on sex determination tests since 2005.