#DoctorsNotGuineaPigs: ‘Not a doctor’s place to be a food taster’

Today, Indian Medical Association (IMA) doctors from Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh have taken a stand against an archaic colonial era rule which requires doctors to taste the test and test the food being served to VIP and VVIP during their visit to a place. My Medical Mantra spoke to senior doctors to know about their take on this vexing issue

#DoctorsNotGuineaPigs: ‘Not a doctor’s place to be a food taster’
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They have written a letter, voicing their displeasure over this practice to the Madhya Pradesh government and union government.

The purpose behind this rule was to make sure that the food was not contaminated or poisoned, but today it is needless and demeaning to doctors.

In a show of solidarity, the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD), the Maharashtra Association of Gazetted Medical Officers (MAGMO) and Federation of all India Resident Doctors Association (FORDA) along with Indian Medical Association, Delhi chapter have lent their support to their brethren.

Experienced senior doctors from Maharashtra have shared their opinion over this issue.

Dr Sujata Rao, ENT specialist from Holy Spirit Hospital, Mumbai, said,  “Doctors eating the food meant for the VVIPs is a very old practice, and now the practice has to be changed. A doctor’s duty is to provide emergency medical care to people, and not to certify the food quality, whether it is safe for those who have come from abroad. This issue is related to security. The government must make a definite protocol for the same. So, the practice that the doctor will eat first and then only the food will be served to the VVIPs should be stopped. Because this is not the doctor’s duty.”

Dr Sunil Ghate, Dean, Solapur Medical Medical College said, “It’s the job of the Food and Drugs Department to find out whether the food is contaminated or not. It is not the doctor’s job and to force a doctor to do so is absolutely wrong. A month back, we had written a letter to the Medical Education minister on this issue. We held several meetings as well, and the minister is positive about it. We don’t send our doctor for the purpose of food tasting. A doctor is not there to for this purpose. If something happens to the doctor who will be responsible?”