VIJAYAWADA: If you thought the recent incident in which a hospital official had demanded bribe from the kin of the deceased driver E Siva Prasad for conducting postmortem was an isolated one, think again. A visit to the mortuary by this TNIE reporter revealed that demanding money for conducting a postmortem and providing inquest report has become a regular practice, much to the chagrin of the bereaved families.
For record, one assistant professor of the Forensic Medicine department in the Vijayawada Government General Hospital, Dr B Srinu Naik, allegedly demanded a bribe of Rs 5,000 to conduct postmortem on the driver’s body. The bereaved family, which was at a loss after losing its breadwinner, had approached the authorities and on the basis of the complaint lodged by them the hospital superintendent suspended the accused doctor on Monday. TNIE reported the incident on Tuesday, August 28.
Surprisingly several senior officials and doctors working in the hospital admitted that there was large-scale malpractice going on in the mortuary and this incident was neither first nor unrelated. They however, expressed their inability in eradicating the illegal practices going on in the morgue.
One senior official on the condition of anonymity told TNIE that there was another doctor in the department who was fleecing the family of the dead. “It’s a routine that people bribe doctors and other staff to get their work done without any inconvenience. But none of them lodged a complaint with us. It’s the people who are encouraging them,” he said.
During the visit by this reporter, it also came to light that such illegal practice was a part of the business conducted there and all the concerned officials - from the forensic department doctors to the inquest officer and from ambulance driver to ground level staff - were party to the illegal practice - demanding and accepting money from the kin of the deceased to complete the autopsy process.
“Staff working at the mortuary are usually errant and they feel that they are doing the job of a superman. By keeping the deceased’s family members in waiting, they are demanding money. Since, doctor and inquest officer play a crucial role in giving the body back to the family, they demand money. We also have received complaints that ambulance drivers also demand money after dropping the dead body,” the official said.
When asked about the measures taken to put an end to the menace, the Government General Hospital (GGH) superintendent S Babulal said that they had a slew of plans in the pipeline to streamline the administration of the mortuary by forming an integrated team to ensure transparency at every stage. “Since the mortuary is headed by the college principal, we asked for his suggestions and measures to be taken in eradicating the illegal practices. We have a few plans in mind. It’s so sad that people are being asked for money at mortuaries,” he said. After the media reports exposed the grave situation prevailing in the mortuary, staff pasted posters asking people to lodge complaints with ‘Dial 1100’ portal, as and when they faced any difficulties.