No more denial : Maharashtra doctors to face action over med
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In a development easing medical aid to sex abuse and acid attack survivors, State Public Health department of Maharashtra released guidelines for public and private hospital doctors and medical practitioners where they cannot deny free medical treatment to survivors of heinous abuse. Denial of medical help shall amount to punishment under Section 166 (b) of the Indian Penal Code that envisages maximum imprisonment up to one year or with fine or both. The guidelines will also be applicable for free medical treatment to minor victims under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.

Under Secretary of State public health department Roshani Kadam-Patil said that, "Departments of medical education and food and drugs, urban development and law have been asked to give necessary instructions to all hospitals under their respective jurisdiction for providing free treatment to victims of sex abuse, acid attack and minors under POCSO Act. Similar instructions need to be given to the private hospitals.'' She said the doctors will have to seek prior permission, understand past history, collect samples, inform the police administration and provide psychiatric counseling to such survivors.

As per the guidelines, the hospitals will have to set up a separate panel comprising of district civil surgeon, medical superintendent, gynecologist or pediatrician and a medical officer from the casualty department for seeking the consent of the survivor for treatment. Doctors and medical practitioners will have to prepare a report and collect samples from the survivors within 96 hours for further examination, according to the norms.