Fixing deals while the dead wait to be cut open

B.R. Singh, a native of Srikakulam, faced a piquant situation at the mortuary in King George Hospital (KGH), when he recently went to collect the body of one of his relatives who had died in an accident. Hailing from a BPL family, the family members assembled outside the mortuary early in the morning, only to be told by the ward boys that the post-mortem would not be conducted unless they paid Rs. 5,000 to the policemen to issue the PM order. After a long drawn negotiation, the poor family agreed for Rs. 2,000 and the PM was done and the body released, but not after a painful wait for over eight hours.

The problem is not new and senior police officers and the principal of the Andhra Medical College are aware and both sides keep blaming each other.

An inspector rank officer said that the ward boys in connivance with the doctors are responsible for the corruption. “They even demand money from us for unclaimed bodies,” said the inspector. On the other hand a ward boy on condition of anonymity said that they were being used by the policemen on the mortuary picket to set the deal.

Admitting to demanding money, a ward boy said: “Cutting open a dead body or decomposed body or an accident body, is a tough task. It needs courage and mental stability. And we do it under influence of alcohol. There is also the fear of supernatural and stigma associated with the work, for which we seek some money from the family members to pay for our drinks. But we don’t demand in thousands,” he said.

Accepting that a number of complaints have come from this quarter, Principal of AMC Dr. S.V. Kumar said that there was larger issue at the mortuary and the Department of Forensic Medicine. “The primary problem is manpower. The entire staff is overworked and that to unsystematically and that is leading to all the problems. On an average we get at least 10 bodies for autopsy on a daily basis. As against the requirement of at least eight we have just two ward boys working round-the-clock. The Department of Forensic has a sanctioned strength for two professors while there are none. Out of two associate professors we have one and of the four assistant professors we have just two,” he said.

The Forensic Department is practically without a head. Postgraduate students are reluctant to join forensic medicine and the entire department is overworked

S.V. Kumar

AMC Principal

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Printable version | May 27, 2022 5:25:25 am |