Forensic Medicine and Toxicology
Besides carrying out routine post mortems, the Department runs a clinical toxicology laboratory attachment that caters to several types of patients and helps clinicians in prompt diagnosis and treatment. The Department looks after a number of medico-legal aspects. It routinely attends to summons delivered by courts on behalf of the government and provides expert opinions on several cases. The faculty of this Department often visit crime scenes on requests of district authorities (Collector, Superintendent of Police) to assist in investigation of crimes. It guides police personnel, medical staff of other institutes and doctors of other departments of MGIMS in dealing with several types of medico-legal cases. It helps investigate cases of custodial death, sexual assault, medical negligence and helps estimate age and establish alcohol intoxication. The Department helps in conduct of clinical post-mortems to detect cause of any death or its pathology.
MGIMS has developed a unique Clinical Forensic Medicine Unit (CFMU), which works round the clock and hand-in-hand with the emergency centre. All medico-legal cases (MLC) are handled under direct supervision of experts from the forensic department; the doctors from clinical departments are thus no longer required to spend time in courts for cross examinations. The judiciary had passed strictures about the illegible handwriting of medicos in the medico-legal reports (MLR) which made it impossible to decipher them. To overcome this constraint, MGIMS has also developed the “forensic medical software” that generates printed and organized reports and helps the cause of justice as well as education.
The Department is engaged in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and training. It conducts regular undergraduate seminars. Research is in the form of postgraduate theses works and related researches. The Department of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology also shoulders the responsibility of taking lectures for nursing students on medico-legal aspects. The postgraduate seats of Forensic Medicine are recognized by the Medical Council of India. The Department is also taking efforts to revamp the curriculum of the subject of Forensic Medicine at undergraduate level.
The Department of Forensic Medicine has done pioneering work on the “Quality of forensic medical examination of sexually assaulted victims in India”. This 258-page report prepared was forwarded to the Union Ministries of Health and Law. A public interest litigation was filed on the basis of this report and the Mumbai High Court-Nagpur bench took immediate cognizance of the seriousness of this issue subsequently issuing a directive consisting of guidelines and a proforma for medical officers to follow to ensure proper forensic examination of victims of sexual assault. Police officers probing such cases have also been supplied with revised guidelines by the Govt. of Maharashtra after another such report was submitted by our department, a report highlighting the absurdity of certain questions asked to the victims amounting to human rights violation.
Another report “Emergency Medical service in India – a cause of concern” showed that 1.5 lakh people killed in road traffic accidents in India die due to lack of emergency medicine services. The National Human Rights Commission has taken serious cognizance of this report and directed the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to upgrade emergency medical services in the country.