In the first such action against a large corporate hospital, a total of seven doctors have been charged with violating sections of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique (PC-PNDT) Act and convicted to one year’s simple imprisonment and fine of Rs 5,000 by a Judicial Magistrate First Class court, Pune .
This is the first such case that a corporate hospital has been pulled up — mainly for non-maintenance of records and slapped with a Rs 10,000 fine by a court while hospital workers too have been convicted by the JMFC court presided by Judge D B Mhalatkar. The court observed that the hospital had been given a chance in 2011 to improve but they failed to do so. Considering that punishment is strict for flouting any section of the PC-PNDT act that deals with the offence of illegal sex determination of the foetus, the hospital should have improved its position but failed to do so, the court observed.
According to Advocate Anant Randive, legal adviser for PC-PNDT in the PCMC, Dr Anandrao Jagdale the then Appropriate Authority for implementing the PC-PNDT Act in Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation , ad filed a case against Aditya Birla Hospital, its superintendent Dr Ashutosh Shrivastav, medical director Dr Ashish Pathak, Chief Operating Officer Rekha Dubey, Dr Ritu Lokhande and radiologists Dr Anup Bharsakade, Dr Deepali Ahirrao, Dr Runalaila Soofi under sections 23, 25, 26 and 29 of the PC-PNDT Act.
On 28-6-2012, Dr R N Bachchav had been authorised to conduct inspections of all sonography and medical termination of pregnancy centres in Thergaon, Kala Khadak and Pimple Nilakh area. Dr Bachchav inspected the Aditya Birla hospital on 28-6-2012 and 29-6-2012 and found irregularities in filling Form ‘F’, which records medical history of pregnant women. While the PC-PNDT booklet was not made available, the board displaying rules of the PC-PNDT Act too were not displayed at six sonography machines.
Subsequently, showcause notices were issued after sealing the sonography machines to respond to the violation of the PC-PNDT Act. The court has said that rule 9(4), 17 (1) and 17 (2) of the PC-PNDT Act were flouted. When contacted, Dr Pavan Salve, presently the Appropriate Authority for implementing the PC-PNDT Act in PCMC area, reiterated that this was the first such case that had involved a large corporate hospital and assumes importance as despite reminders the administration failed to improve.
Rekha Dubey, COO, Aditya Birla Memorial Hospital, said the court judgment was “shocking news”.
“It was only the act of omission not a case of any medical negligence. We are all aware that doctors are suppose to deal with the medical emergency and that time their priorities are to treat the patients. However in this case in between the procedure they received emergency calls from nurse so whilst filling the documentation, in a hurry, they missed only putting their own signatures. (The) remaining documents were in order thoroughly, as per the PC-PNDT Act requirements. It should be noted that this was the only fault — a technical mistake aggrieved by the above judgment, the Management of Hospital is filing an appeal in the Sessions Court against the said judgement,” she added.