Hyderabad: Non-disposal of dead bodies for longer duration poses serious health risks to the staff at mortuary, especially attenders and workers. According to Dr Narayan Reddy, retired professor from Osmania who headed the Forensic department at Osmania General Hospital for more than a decade before retiring in 2011, a few staff members died prematurely. “When we investigated the deaths, we found the reason to be tuberculosis, which they had contracted while working in the mortuary,” Dr Narayan Reddy said.
“A good number of unidentified bodies, like beggars, carry germs of diseases like tuberculosis. If these bodies are kept for long durations, even more than a few days, the lower-level staff is susceptible to infections,” the doctor said. Typhoid, tetanus, breathing problems and allergies are some of the common diseases and ailments that people are prone to get because of moving in and around the mortuary.
“More than grieving for the loss of their near ones, relatives and well-wishers are very scared during the few hours they spend near the mortuary,” he said.
Dr Narayan Reddy explained that mortuaries in the Kurnool Medical College and Tirupati Medical College are located in the main building.
“There is no foul smell or vile odour or little risk of getting infected because proper measures are in place. Why can’t similar conditions be replicated at the Osmania mortuary that is located at some distance from the main hospital,” the doctor said.
Doctors said that washing of the areas where the bodies are stored regularly after disposal with a solution of sodium hypochlorite is a must. Also, fumigation of autopsy theatres and separate theatres for infective cases are some of the needed steps.
Precautions to be taken
Precautions for police personnel while shifting decomposed bodies framed by Central Forensic Science Laboratory n Rubber gloves, aprons or gowns should be used while handling of all biological exhibits including corpses.
- All dead bodies must be placed in a plastic bag before they are sent to a mortuary
- When the death is due to a case of known infection, a label with the name of the disease must be attached to the body
- Smoking, drinking or eating should not be allowed during the time of the handling of biological exhibits and in the work area
- Washing of hands thoroughly after handling the body, usage of antiseptic such as 70 per cent spirit proves very helpful
- Police vehicle have to be cleaned and disinfected after shifting corpses to the mortuary.