Mumbai: Taking into consideration the poor quality of medico-legal reports, which act as a deceptive factor during judicial trials, Sewagram-based Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (MGIMS) and Kasturba Hospital claim to have established Maharashtra’s first Clinical Forensic Medicine Unit (CFMU) in casualty at the department of forensic medicine.
Started with a purpose to bring an efficient medico-legal system, the CFMU is incorporated to work hand-in-hand with the emergency centre and all medico-legal cases (MLC) will be handled under direct supervision of experts from the forensic department, according to MGIMS.
“Earlier, the handling of such cases was done by casualty medical officers or doctors from clinical department. There was no involvement of the experts from forensic medicine due to which the results were highly inadequate,” said Dr Indrajit Khandekar, in-charge forensic physician and associate professor at the department of forensic medicine, MGIMS, and the brain behind the project.
Dr Khandekar added that the judiciary had passed strictures on the illegible handwriting of medicos on the medico-legal reports (MLR), as it was impossible to decipher them. To overcome this constraint, MGIMS has also developed forensic medical software, which will generate printed and organized reports.
“The software will have the complete data system of patients with specific features so that not even a minute detail is skipped. This can help prevent the unjust acquittal of accused and there will be no scope for any loopholes,” Dr Khandekar pointed out.
Apart from benefiting the judicial purpose, this development also proves to be a boon for students pursuing forensic medicine, as they will get a hands-on experience rather than mere classroom teaching. “Previously, these students used to complete the degree without any kind of practical experience in the field which later created hardships for them. But now they will become real experts and not pseudo ones,” explained Dr Khandekar.
Dr Khandekar and his team studied more than 1,200 judgments and approached judges, lawyers, police officers and local crime branch team to prepare the new pro-forma of CFMU.
“We have done a thorough research of medico-legal cases and have found out the reasons for inadequate and cursory reports. The preparation of new formats and its incorporation into software took eight months and we are sure that the quality of medico-legal reports will now be improved,” said Dr Khandekar.
|Present System||New System|
|Handling of medico-legal / forensic issues of MLCs by casualty medical officers or doctors from clinical department who are not expert in this field.||Medico-legal issues will be handled by the expert department of Forensic Medicine. This will lead to adequate and good quality MLRs. So courts will be in a better position to understand the medico-legal issues.|
|Courts have passed strictures and expressed displeasure on inadequate, incomplete and cursory MLRs and evidence of medicos.|
|Illegible handwritten notes on MLRs adversely affect the ends of justice and unnecessarily consume lot of time of the court.||Computer printed reports will be generated through forensic medical software to solve this problem.|
|Students passed without handling or witnessing a single practical MLC under expert forensic dept.||Students will handle practical cases under forensic expert supervision.|
According to Dr Khandekar, the project would not have been possible without the unwavering support and faith of Dhirubhai Mehta, president, MGIMS; Dr P Narang, secretary, MGIMS; Dr B S Garg, dean, MGIMS; Dr S P Kalantri, medical superintendent, Kasturba Hospital; and Dr B H Tirpude, professor and head, department of forensic medicine and toxicology, MGIMS.