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Gandhi mortuary a ‘dead case’?

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Poor conditions: Gandhi Hospital mortuary in Hyderabad.
Poor conditions: Gandhi Hospital mortuary in Hyderabad.

Marri Ramu

Poor facilities and uncertainty over its shifting make it a dreadful place

HYDERABAD: Rats move around freely, bandicoots dig at their will, water supply suddenly stops, exhaust fans refuse to work and the whole building stinks. That is Gandhi Hospital morgue.As uncertainty over shifting of the mortuary to the new building in Gandhi Hospital at Musheerabad continues, whatever poor facilities are available, have been deteriorating making it a dreadful place to step in. Take the case of the two air conditioning plants that have developed snag some two months ago.

Both of them are technically ‘working’ but they do not maintain the lowest temperature where body decay is reduced to minimum. This is leading to decomposition of unclaimed bodies stored in the freezer. Some 20 bodies are rotting as the AC plants are not functioning properly. Some of them are two-day old and a few have been lying there for over two to three weeks.

Such dreadful is the stench emanating from these degenerating bodies is that some people vomit as they reach the mortuary gate. Even the forensic doctors, who have been working there for years, feel the nausea. The morgue staff complain of frequent respiratory tract problems, skin allergy and contacting infectious diseases.

Dishonour

What pains them more is the dishonour to the dead. The dilapidated building became a breeding ground for rats and bandicoots. There are instances of rats chewing off noses and ears of the dead! “But we’re helpless. When these issues are raised, the higher-ups come with the stock reply of shifting the morgue soon,” a forensic doctor says.

It is not the question of inconvenience to visitors or the staff, but the possibility of failing to correctly ascertain the cause of death, the doctor points out.

It becomes difficult to judge the nature of the wounds on a decomposed body and hence the doctors may fail to give a correct opinion cases of suspicious death.

But Gandhi Hospital Superintendent B. Balaraju is hopeful of setting things right saying the mortuary will be shifted to its new building in a fortnight. “AC plants are being fixed in the new building. Engineers told me it will be ready in two weeks,” he says.

The Superintendent is confident that it will be the final deadline, but the question is who will protect the corpses from the rats in the next 15 days.


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