According to hospital procedure, when a patient brought in by someone is declared dead on arrival, the postmortem can be conducted only once the police from the victim’s area arrive at the hospital. For the past few weeks, however, bodies brought to Sion Hospital have been kept wrapped up for hours in the casualty ward or sometimes even outside the ward. Hospital sources confirmed to this reporter that the hospital’s dead body storeroom has remained locked since August 4. The storeroom is used to store corpses until the police arrive at the hospital. This has added to the staff’s woes, as they have to constantly keep an eye on the corpse.
On an average, two to three dead bodies are brought in by the public everyday. The storeroom has a capacity of two bodies. Sources add that at times corpses have been kept temporarily in the corridors outside the casualty ward.
Other major civic hospitals such as KEM Hospital and Nair Hospital also wait for the police to arrive before conducting postmortem examinations. They use their dead body storerooms until the police arrive.
When asked why the storeroom is no longer used at Sion Hospital, Dr Sandhya Kamath, dean of Sion Hospital, said, “As per policy, the dead body storeroom is used only when required. As we have a cold storage facility in the hospital ,we have not been using the one in the casualty department.” No further questions were entertained.
Last Wednesday, a 42 year-old man, Shafiq Khan, was declared dead on arrival at Sion Hospital at around 11.40 am. Khan’s son brought him to the hospital. A train at Thane railway station had hit him while he was crossing the tracks. Instead of being kept in the dead body storeroom, Khan’s body was kept wrapped up in the casualty ward. It took over three hours for the Thane railway police to arrive at Sion Hospital. The body was lying in the ward the entire time