Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mamta Card must for sonography: HC

Division Bench Rejects Doctors’ Appeal

Ahmedabad: A division bench of Gujarat high court has upheld a single-judge bench’s order prohibiting doctors from conducting sonography on pregnant women who does not have Mamta Card. 

    While making it mandatory for doctors to ask for Mamta Card from pregnant lady before conducting sonography so as to prevent disclosure of sex of fetus, Justice K S Jhaveri in 2010 had observed, “Though our country is surging ahead to become an economic superpower, it still has to witness the sinister face of the demon known as female foeticide. The statistics of deaths caused due to female foeticide is very alarming.” 
    Against this order for proper implementation of Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) Act by ensuring Mamta Card, a group of 1,850 doctors approached the high court in December last questioning the order. They claimed that such orders violate their Hippocratic Oath and a person’s right to privacy. 
More than two years later, the doctors raised the issue on how can they refuse treatment and advice to patients in pregnant women when they come to clinics? They contended that if they follow HC directions, it would be a clear violation of Hippocratic Oath taken by a physician. The doctors’ association also contended that the insistence that the women should have the card and then supplying the information to authorities would violate women’s right to privacy. They also raised the issue of those women who come to Gujarat for treatment from other states, for they do not have any suchcard and this practically restricts them to treat such patients. 

    The high court had also directed doctors that after conducting diagnostic sonography on pregnant woman, who has duly registered ‘Mamta Card’, they immediately should inform the authorities concerned about the test as per the provisions of the PNDT Act. 
    This issue had come before the high court after the authorities sealed sonography machines at variousclinics and laboratories. 
    Following the HC directions, the state government issued directions to doctors on three occasions last year to fillin form‘F’ physically as well as online after conducting sonography.

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