Memorandum: Dated February 5, 2011( VISION 2015)
Board of Governors
Medical Council of India, New Delhi
Memorandum: Dated February 5, 2011
Sub: Vision 2015 Document in respect of the specialty of Forensic Medicine.
Punjab Academy of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology (PAFMAT) is a registered body of specialists of forensic medicine in Punjab constituted in the year 1997 to watch interest of the society in general & the members of the PAFMAT society in particular under the aims & objectives of the Society.
In the Executive Body Meeting of the Academy held today in Patiala (Punjab), Vision 2015 of the MCI UG teaching Committee in respect to the specialty of forensic medicine was discussed in details and it was out rightly rejected in its present form. On behalf of the Academy, I hereby put forth our view point as under:
1. Preliminary Objection: The proposed changes in the Document in respect of the subject & specialty of forensic medicine have been recommended without consultations with the experts and senior faculty members of forensic medicine and our national or state bodies.
2. Earlier Recommendations Ignored: The present proposal is contradicting the earlier authentic and authoritative reports of Mudaliar and Bohr committees, constituted by the Government of India to improve medico legal services in India. In 2007, a committee headed by Former Chief Justice of India Mr. Justice M.N. Venkatachalaiah had prepared a draft on “revision of undergraduate medico-legal curriculum”, which emphasized the need for giving more importance to ‘forensic medicine’ in the training of a medical graduate.
3. Retrograde Step: In this era of super-specialization wherein the specialty of forensic medicine in developed countries is budding into sub branches like forensic pathology, forensic psychiatry, forensic odontology and forensic nursing etc., to deal with all aspects of human body crimes specifically and effectively, on the contrary Vision 2015 is trying to club already developed specialty into other non related specialties.
4. Forensic Medicine Best Link: A doctor with practical knowledge in forensic medicine preferably post-graduation is the best link between the judiciary and the investigating authorities on one side and the medical professionals on the other side in dealing with the medico-legal cases effectively in the best interest of justice.
5. Teaching as Compulsory Subject: The crime detection and conviction rate in relation to the crimes of human body in the country, is still not up to the mark as a large chunk of medico legal cases are being dealt by the doctors who are not specialists in forensic medicine and in spite of the fact that the subject is being taught for 1 ½ years during MBBS under-graduation teaching.
And, if the subject is made elective, no student at the undergraduate level will opt for it, thus further worsening the medico legal services and investigations.
6. Teaching by Other Specialists: The proposal to teach forensic medicine by teachers of other specialties i.e. gynecology, surgery and pharmacology itself indicates the need to teach the subject, and then what is the logic of teaching the same by different departments. Even the teachers and experts of these subjects may not agree to teach as proposed in the Vision Document.
7. Legal experts for medico-legal issues: The proposal that legal experts can be called for medico-legal issues is ridiculed as without medical knowledge legal experts cannot teach medico-legal issues related to medical practice. An expert with medical and medico-legal knowledge is the best suited for such teaching and dealing with such cases.
It seems the Vision Group is influenced by the Defense Lawyers as the half baked medico-legal experts and poor medico-legal injury and post mortem reports are best suited to the Defense Councils.
8. Need Based Curriculum: The Vision Document suggests need based curriculum but has totally ignored need of the society so far as forensic medicine / medico legal services are concerned. We need to develop skills of doctors in dealing with medico-legal cases rather than not exposing them at all to medico-legal situations as is happening in majority of the private medical colleges in the country.
Here too, it seems the Vision Group is being compelled by wishes of such medical colleges where only theoretical teaching is being imparted at the under graduate level without practical exposure of the students in forensic medicine.
9. Be Taught as Clinical Subject: As clinicians, Forensic Medicine experts deal with human body, living or dead directly and the subject is needed to be taught like clinical subjects preferably in the Final Two Years in MBBS training as “compulsory subject” with one month “compulsory internship duty” for practical exposure of the students by examination of all types the medico legal cases including attending the law courts under the guidance and supervision of the forensic medicine faculty.
10.Era of Litigations: In this era of litigations where more and more medical professionals are being involved in litigation by the patients as consumers and the Ambulance Chasing Lawyers, the legal knowledge of medical practice has indeed become most important to be taught thoroughly at the under graduation MBBS level by the fully trained faculty as forensic medicine specialist.
11. Hence, the present Vision 2015 Document in the present form should be reviewed and our senior faculty members in forensic medicine and representatives of Punjab Academy of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology and Indian Academy of Forensic Medicine should be given a personal hearing for detailed discussions on the subject.
Dr DS Bhullar
Copy is being forwarded to:
1. Chief Justice of India.
2. Minister / Secretary Health, Govt. of India.
3. Minister / Secretary Home, Govt. of India.
4. The General Secretary, IAFM.
5. Hon. Secretary, Indian Medical Association.
6. Other Members BOG of MCI.