Mangaluru, Mar 8, 2015 : Speaking at a meeting convened to formulate the disposal of cadavers at Wenlock Hospital on March 7, DK DC Adoor B Ibrahim said Govt. Wenlock Hospital should make better efforts to trace the relatives of unclaimed dead bodies. If authorities still fail to trace the relatives, the bodies should be disposed in a transparent manner. He said handing over of cadavers to medical colleges at a cost of Rs 10,000 has created a row in the district with human rights activists staging a protest and submitting complaint to SHRC and district administration. Advertisements should be published in two leading newspapers to ascertain the identity of the deceased.
If the relatives fail to turn up to claim the body even after 15 days of publishing the advertisement, then measures should be taken legally to dispose the body. The hospital authorities should identify at least 10 NGOs who are willing to give a decent burial to the dead bodies. The name and address of the NGOs should be published in the mortuary.
He added that Also the rules framed in the Karnataka Anatomy Act 1957 will be binding on the authorities. Adding proper mechanisms will be chalked out within a week to solve the row over dead bodies in the district hospital. As per the act an official should be authorised to hand over the bodies to the medical colleges.
The DC directed Wenlock Hospital district Surgeon to open a separate account to deposit the amount collected for donating bodies to the medical colleges. The DC said that he will also convene a meeting of Superintendent of Police and City Police Commissioner to discuss on the disposal of bodies pertaining to medico legal cases. He also directed the DMO to display the details of contractor who was performing cremation of the unclaimed bodies on behalf of the Mangalore City Corporation.
A representative of the National Human Rights Federation said that decent disposal of the remains is the right of the dead. The government has the responsibility to give a decent burial to an unclaimed dead body if the relatives are not traced out. If the government can not take up the responsibility, then hand over the bodies to us, we will give a decent burial. At any cost, the dead bodies should not be handed over to the medical colleges. The Federation have filed a complaint with the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission on the sale of dead bodies. No body should be handed over to the medical colleges till we get a direction from the KSHRC,"
Following complaints on "sale of dead bodies" to medical colleges at Wenlock Hospital in Mangaluru by human rights activist Balakrishna Rai to Karnataka State Human Rights Commission, the commission has issued a notice to Medical Education Secretary and Director of Medical Education, seeking an enquiry and report within six weeks.
District Surgeon Dr Rajeshwari Devi said that as per the Karnataka Anatomy Act 1957, the unclaimed bodies can be handed over to the medical colleges for the students to carry out their studies.
An activist familiar with the matter commented that though many people like to donate bodies before death to Medical Institutions, there is reluctance as proper awareness is not dispensed and proper appreciation and system is absent often. Also recent soft ware to create 3D images has reduced the need for cadevers in advanced countries. The trend needs to be encouraged by Medical institutions here too.
KMC Dean Dr M V Prabhu and KSHEMA Anatomy department head Dr Martin said "cadavers are an indispensable for learning in medical colleges. The students have to deal with humans in day-to-day life and cadavers give them a correct perspective of the entire body. For a doctor to know which part lies where and where a particular nerve is supposed to be, hands on practice is a must".