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Scan centre shut, doc held for sex-determination test

Abortion of any fetus for strictly medical/health reasons affecting the mother child could be done safely at govt public hospitals free of cost.

Salem: In continuing crackdown on sex determination tests done by seemingly general medical diagnostic and scan centers, the Salem district police and public health officials arrested a woman doctor and sealed her clinic at Vazhapadi near Salem in the wake of an ‘illegal abortion’ done by the hospital.

Giving details on the action taken, Salem district collector, Ms. Rohini Bhajibhakare said in a statement that in violation of the Pre-conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection Act 1994), the Niharika Hospital at Vazhapadi had helped to determine the sex of the fetus of a 24-year-old pregnant women registered at Vedukaathampatti government primary health centre, when she came for consultation with her husband and mother-in-law.

The collector said not only determining the sex of the fetus, whether male or female, was expressly prohibited by the Act, but on knowing that this woman was carrying a female child, the hospital authorities led by Dr Selvambal Rajkumar, on their request, had performed a surgical procedure on the poor woman on April 19, to abort the female fetus, which was also prohibited under the Act.

As the woman-patient had developed post-surgical complications and had been bleeding profusely, the collector said she was bundled into a private van despite her serious condition and sent to another private medical clinic where the expectant mother was declared dead later in the night around 8-45 pm.

On information, the Salem joint director of medical services (welfare), Dr Valarmathi along with a team of officials and assisted by the Salem district police, conducted a preliminary investigation and have arrested Dr Selvambal Rajkumar on April 23, for violations under the above mentioned Act.

Her clinic was also ordered to be immediately sealed, said the district collector.
Ms Rohini Bhajubhakare pointed out that the sex ratio in Salem district was, compared to other districts in the State, highly skewed and called upon the people to protect the girl child in particular. She appealed to all expectant mothers not to approach such unauthorised scan centers to do sex determination tests.

Abortion of any fetus for strictly medical/health reasons affecting the mother and child could be done safely at government public hospitals free of cost. So people need not approach such scan centers, the collector emphasised.