Mumbai: Medical aspirants in Maharashtra are moving away from a career in Forensic Medicine because of legal troubles and diminishing job prospects, reports a data from the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER). Of the twenty eight seats offered by the state, it is reported that fifty percent have been lying vacant for the past two years. This is because post mortem centres are faced with acute staff shortage. Nearly two third posts have no takers at the five post mortem centres, admits the Department of Home.
Candidates for forensic medicine face the PGM-CET entrance test to get into the 13 medical colleges of the state offering twenty eight seats. Sixteen seats in 2014-2015 and ten seats in 2015-2016 remained vacant according to the DMER statistics.
Between the Government run colleges of the state— Grant Medical College (attached to Sir JJ Hospital), Seth G S Medical College (KEM Hospital), LTMG Medical College (Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital, Sion) and Topiwala National Medical College (BYL Nair Hospital) — with eight seats to fill, only half of them have seen occupancy.
The major set back for the course is that it offers jobs only in government hospitals and laboratories as they are the only ones with forensic departments. Despite the fact that post mortem centres have increased, job opportunities have remained static. However, college seats in the subject have seen a rise.
According to Dr. Rajesh Dhere, Associate Professor, Forensic Medicine, LTMG and KEM Hospitals, ten years ago seven or eight seats were the offering of forensic medicine across the state. Today, private institutions are also conducting this course.
The other reasons for keeping medical students off the course, are lack of opportunity for private practice and the science mainly steering around MLCs with criminal offences, court cases and police inquiries. The uncertain job prospects after completion of course- being another acting deterrent.
Women aspirants keep away due to the social taboo, while students in general only opt for it when they remain unsuccessful in getting their choices or other branches of specializations, says Dr Sagar Mundada, President, Central Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors.
According to general opinion, forensic medicine will continue to take a back seat despite efforts to introduce new centres of post mortem and tertiary care in districts of Maharashtra.