Mangaluru: A meeting was held at the district Wenlock hospital related to the disposal of unclaimed bodies here, on March 7.
Deputy Commissioner DC Ibrahim addressing the representatives from various institutions and organizations requested their valuable suggestions on the disposal of unclaimed bodies from Wenlock Mortuary.
Member of the the Human Rights Foundation, Kolyadi Balakrishna Rai, said that in the name of unclaimed bodies, there is a huge racket going on. “The cadavers have been sold to various institutions in the name of unclaimed bodies. If the body will not be claimed, the human rights foundation will bury or cremate the body with due respect.”
“In MCC, there is a tender for the disposal of dead bodies. We are ready to give them a proper burial. Even there is an allegation that the bodies have been sold to medical institutions. The government should legally protect the human rights and dispose the body with due respect. Funds of Rs 23 lakh has been sanctioned to upgrade the mortuary but the mortuary is not built.” He also said that the bodies are being carelessly dumped in the mortuary freezer one over the other without due respect.
Dr Rajeshwari said that various organizations are questioning Wenlock Hospital administration over the disposal of bodies, but if the bodies are given to organizations, they may misuse them and there is no guarantee that they would bury or cremate the bodies. “The government has sanctioned Rs 20.3 lakh for the upgradation of the mortuary and we have utilized it. We give the bodies to medical institutions for anatomy, we are providing only the unclaimed bodies.”
A Muslim leader said, “When a patient from the Muslim community is admitted to the Wenlock hospital and dies, if the hospital authority informs us, we will bury the body accordingly.”
Balakrishna Rai also said that most of the organizations have come forward to bury or cremate the unidentified bodies but the hospital authorities are not ready to hand over any unclaimed bodies to us. “Instead they sell it to medical institutions. If the unclaimed bodies are used for anatomy in government hospitals then it is acceptable because most of the students come from very poor background and they cannot pay more fees. But in the private medical colleges students pay huge amount for the seat and get admission. Why should the unclaimed bodies be sold to such institutions?” he questioned.
He further said, “Earlier there was no objection in selling the dead bodies but now we have raised the objection. It is the duty of the DMO to inform the DC regarding the objection.”
Dean of KMC said, “The Word sale is objectionable. Earlier in 2005, the value of a dead body was only Rs 250 and now the government has restored dignity to the dead bodies by fixing the rate of Rs 10,000 in donation to the government hospital funds as per the medical education requirement.”
“There are two issues here, one is legal and ethical issue, the second is religion and emotional issue. There are certain individuals who come to the hospital and donate their bodies. When someone who willingly donates their body, dies, their relative should come to the hospital and inform the authority to accept the body.”
DC Ibrahim said, “The DMO is not given the authority to dispose the unclaimed bodies. The government should appoint an officer under the Karnataka Anatomy Act which states that if a person dies in the hospital or in the prison and his body is not claimed within the prescribed time, the authority in charge of such hospital or prison or any police officer shall, with the least practicable delay report the fact to the authorized officer and the said officer shall take possession of the unclaimed body and except in the case referred to in sub-section (3), hand it over to the authority in charge of an approved institution, if it is required by that authority, for the purpose of conducting anatomical examination and dissection or other similar purpose.”
DC Ibrahim also assured to hold discussions with police officers regarding the unclaimed bodies and find a solution within a week.
CEO ZP Sreevidhya, Health officer Manjaiah and other officers were also present.