The negligence of the staff and doctors is said to be the reason for the dead bodies remaining at the cold storage without proper cremation.
The bodies of two COVID-19 victims were found at the ESI hospital mortuary in Rajajinagar in Bengaluru, over 15 months after they had died. The bodies were recovered on Friday, November 26, at the cold storage when the workers went there for cleaning. The negligence of the staff and doctors is said to be the reason for the dead bodies remaining at the cold storage without cremation as per protocol.
According to reports, authorities had been planning to cremate the bodies as the family and relatives of one of the deceased did not show any interest in taking the body for final rites. In the second case, the police were not able to trace another deceased person’s whereabouts and family.
The bodies were identified with the help of tags as Durga (40), a resident of Chamarajpet, and Muniraju (35), a resident of KP Agrahara in Bengaluru. Both were admitted to the ESI hospital for the treatment of coronavirus in July 2020. However, as they succumbed to the deadly virus, their bodies were shifted to an old mortuary to be handed over to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) for cremation. As per COVID-19 protocol, the civic agency was to cremate the dead bodies of the victims and the bodies were not given to the families.
The ESI hospital’s old mortuary has six cold storages for storing dead bodies. However, during the spike in the COVID-19 deaths, it had become difficult for the hospital authorities to keep the dead bodies at the mortuary. The government had constructed a new mortuary, which was inaugurated in December, 2020. As the new mortuary started functioning, due to negligence, these two bodies remained in freezers of the old mortuary.
The cleaning staff, who went to clean the old mortuary, noticed a smell emanating from freezers and found bodies. The Rajajinagar police have taken up the case and tried to track their relatives. Durga’s husband has passed away and officials told IANS that her family did not show interest in taking her body. The police were trying to find out the address of Muniraju’s family members.
The development has drawn sharp reactions from the public against the ESI hospital staff and doctors for utter negligence in handling of dead bodies.
Rajajinagar MLA Suresh Kumar has written to Karnataka Labour Minister Shivram Hebbal seeking a high-level inquiry into the incident. He has said that ESI hospital and BBMP are responsible for the negligence and that level inquiry should be held.
“This is the definition of inhuman and irresponsible,” Suresh Kumar, who is the former Primary and Secondary Minister of Karnataka, wrote in his letter, seeking a proper inquiry over the negligence.
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