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Indian radiologists deserve support in battle with bureaucracy

Indian radiologists deserve support in battle with bureaucracy

Several years ago, I asked an Indian ultrasound specialist if he had knowingly taken part in a genderselective abortion. He said he hadn't, but he knew of sonographers who did occasionally reveal the sex of a fetus to a patient. He said they always did this very discreetly, for instance by writing “F” or “M” on a scrap of paper. They told him that the pressure from a patient was often immense, and they were concerned that if they did not pass on the information, the patient would merely go straight to an unscrupulous back-street practitioner who could not be relied upon to give a correct answer, and who would charge an exorbitant fee.

This must be a dreadful ethical dilemma for sonographers and radiologists, and there is no easy solution. Furthermore, these groups are now facing unfair treatment from the authorities, as outlined in the lead news story on page 1 of this edition.

“The provisions of the PC-PNDT Act for ‘Save the Girl Child' are good on paper, but illogical on many occasions, causing harassment to the radiologist without having any desired results,” noted Prof. Kishor Taori, president of the Indian Radiological and Imaging Association, during his address to the association's annual meeting in Ahmedabad in late January. He said that IRIA would help educate society and make people realize that boys and girls are of the same value, but he was deeply concerned that a simple breach of the law, such as a missing signature on a form, may result in the seizure of ultrasound machines.

Taori deserves the support of the worldwide radiological community for his courageous stance and for speaking out publicly on such a sensitive issue. Clamping down on rogue practitioners is in everybody's best interests, but the heavyhanded approach of some bureaucrats must be resisted vigorously.

You can read more about the IRIA's annual congress at our new Asia Pacific microsite (www.diagnosticimaging. com/asia-pacific). We are planning similar coverage of the important regional and national meetings throughout this year, and we hope you will get involved by telling us about future events and contributing a short report. Please send me an e-mail at philipward1@btconnect.com.

Also, for the eighth consecutive year, we have produced an online news service from the European Congress of Radiology, held in Vienna in early March. Please take a few moments to look at our diverse selection of articles. ECR moved to the Austrian capital in 1991, and has been held annually since 1999. It is now a highly respected and wellattended international scientific event with a large technical exhibition. You can catch up with ECR 2010 by logging on to DiagnosticImaging.com and looking for “News from ECR.” I hope you enjoy it.

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