The Telegraph
Monday , June 9 , 2014
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Hospitals sleep over rape probe test facilities

Government-run health institutions in the state capital lack infrastructure to conduct medical investigation in rape cases.

Forensic medicine doctors and psychologists are not present in most hospitals, including Gardanibagh Hospital, Rajendra Nagar Hospital and sub-divisional hospital at Danapur, where majority of rape victims are initially sent for medical investigation. On the other hand, the biggest state-run health hub, Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH), where majority of rape cases are referred to has forensic science doctors but they are hardly engaged in the medical investigation of the cases.

“In rape cases, doctors of PMCH’s forensic medicine department only determine the age of the victim with help from doctors of orthopaedics and radiology departments. The forensic doctors are supposed to analyse the semen after collecting samples from the victim’s undergarments. It could be strong evidence but doctors of PMCH’s forensic science department do not follow that,” said a PMCH doctor.

He added: “Doctors of forensic science medicine can also detect the status of the victim’s virginity and whether or not she has regular intercourse. All this could be extremely helpful in finding the truth in rape cases. The PMCH’s microbiology department only uses the high vaginal swab test but if it is done in addition to the tests of forensic medicine department, more evidence could be gathered in rape cases.”

Even Patna district civil surgeon K.K. Mishra admitted that in majority of rape cases, which he referred to PMCH, the involvement of forensic science doctors was minimal.

An official in civil surgeon’s office said: “Since January 1 this year, we have received 110 rape cases, all of which were referred to PMCH for medical investigation. The PMCH’s forensic science laboratory was hardly involved in the investigation.”

RKP Singh, the head of PMCH’s forensic medicine department, admitted that doctors of his department don’t conduct semen analysis.

Asked about the number of forensic science experts and psychologists at other hospitals, including New Gardiner Road Hospital, Gardanibagh Hospital, Rajendra Nagar Hospital and sub-divisional hospital at Danapur, the official said: “In the New Gardiner Road Hospital, there are two gynaecologists and a forensic medicine expert but there is no psychologist to counsel the victim. At Gardanibagh, Rajendra Nagar and sub-divisional hospital at Danapur, forget about forensic science expert, there is not even a psychologist.”

City-based psychologist Binda Singh stressed that counselling for rape victims should start at the outset and it takes time. “The victims have suicidal tendencies. They can go to the extent of harming themselves as they believe there is nothing left in their lives. So counselling is a must. Their families also need counselling with a delicate approach,” said Singh.

High court lawyer Sony Srivastava, who deals with four to five rape cases every month, said lack of evidence in such cases is a cause of worry among most lawyers. “Proper testing not only helps establish evidence against the accused but helps ascertain the genuineness of the cases. Therefore, proper medical investigation in rape cases is a must and all state-run health facilities should ensure it,” said Srivastava.

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