Most bodies that come to the mortuary are already in a bad state and after lying there for days at a stretch, cause unhygienic conditions and an unbearable stench

Delays in shifting unclaimed bodies from the Osmania General Hospital (OGH) mortuary have been cause for discomfort not only for hospital staff but also patients and attendants visiting the hospital.

As the bodies lie unclaimed, the stench from the morgue begins to spread, and at times reaches the nearby blocks of the hospital. Visitors and patients apart, even hospital staff can be seen holding their noses to escape the stench.

On Friday, more than 30 unclaimed bodies piled up at the morgue, awaiting clearance from authorities.

The morgue has a single room with freezer facilities, which can accommodate only 32 bodies at a time. Bodies are preserved here pending identification, while the old ones are shifted to an adjacent room that is devoid of proper facilities.

Of the 10 to 15 bodies that come in daily, of which three to four are of unknown persons. While identified bodies are handed over to the relatives after the autopsy, unclaimed ones are kept at the mortuary until the GHMC facilitates a cremation.

Mortuary authorities intimate the Afzalgunj police station of unclaimed bodies and after receiving a go-ahead from the police, they write to the GHMC, who then shift the bodies for cremation or assign the job to an NGO.

Mortuary officials say the list of bodies is handed over to the GHMC at regular intervals but there are delays in clearing the bodies. As a result, they pile up at the mortuary, leading to unhygienic conditions.

In mid-May, authorities lifted about 120 bodies in one go and in the month of March, 63 bodies were moved out at once. The prescribed period for preserving unclaimed bodies is about 72 hours but in the last few months, bodies were around lying for more than two months, the staff said.

Most bodies come to the mortuary are already in a bad state and after lying here for days at a stretch, one can imagine the conditions, they added.

When contacted Y. Venkata Ramana, GHMC Circle IV, Assistant Medical and Health Officer, said he was not aware of any delays. “I will look into the matter,” he said.

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