LAHORE: The Punjab health department has declared ‘radiological examination’ of all the medico-legal cases (MLCs) mandatory at the government hospitals across the province 24/7.
For this purpose, the department has sought the appointment of a qualified radiologist/doctor in the evening and night shifts of all the government teaching hospitals across the province for issuing MLC reports.
Most importantly, the new policy has declared that the MLCs would be performed round the clock and the respective radiologist would conduct timely reporting of the X-rays and other required tests.
An official said the prime purpose [to introduce the new policy] is to end serious complaints of ‘faulty’ MLCs, a legal document which was presented in the courts in later stages to fix the violators.
Move aims at doing away with complaints of fabricated reports
In the earlier system, the MLCs were being issued only in the morning shift of the state-run hospitals of Punjab, adding enormous burden on the medical staff and creating chances of error or fabrication.
He said the new policy was widely hailed by the medical community as it believed that the initiative would help eliminate the large-scale corruption in the medical staff issuing MLCs for bribes or on the pressure of the political and other elements.The MLC has been playing an integral role in taking the criminals to the court of law for punishment and the complaints of faulty, or fabricated reporting was adding an enormous burden not only on the health institutes but also on the courts where the rival parties used to challenge most of the MLCs.
In most of the cases, the MLCs were required from the doctors of the state-run hospitals in the incidents related to the firearm injuries, physical brawls, murders and suicides.
The official said an MLC involves any injury or medical condition in which law-enforcement agencies investigate and fix the responsibility regarding an injury or medical condition.
He said the rising complaints of fabricated, incomplete or faulty MLCs were causing delay in legal proceedings.
According to an official letter, the health department took the initiative on the recommendations of head of forensic medicine and toxicology department of the Allama Iqbal Medical College Lahore assistant professor Dr Farhat Sultan.
The proposal was endorsed by the Punjab surgeon medico-legal who later forwarded to the health authorities for final consideration/implementation.
Dr Farhat had proposed that radiological examination of the MLC should be conducted 24/7 to facilitate the patients visiting the government hospitals in large numbers.
Following the recommendations, the specialised healthcare and medical education department called an emergency meeting under the supervision of additional secretary health (technical) on Oct 18 this year.
The heads of forensic medicine and toxicology department of King Edward Medical University, Rawalpindi Medical University, Allama Iqbal Medical College (AIMC) and Quaid-i-Azam Medical College, Bahawalpur, attended the meeting.
“The participants discussed the matter in depth and unanimously agreed with the opinion of the assistant professor of AIMC Lahore on radiology examination of MLC cases to be conducted round the clock and also emphasised that the qualified radiologist should be made available for conducting timely reporting of X-ray in medico-legal cases to avoid fabrication/duplication,” reads the letter.
Young Doctors Association Punjab (Reformers) patron-in-chief Dr Mian Adnan declared the new policy a first step to bring about reforms in issuance of MLCs.
He suggested to the government authorities to raise a new cadre to perform MLCs in the state-run hospitals.
He said new hiring of qualified experts should be made in the proposed cadre on the pattern of the general cadre doctors and this initiative would help make the officials available round the clock to release MLCs.
Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2022