Unclaimed bodies raise stink as Cuttack's SCB morgue freezer lies dead

With the refrigeration system at the SCB morgue of Odisha's premier government-run hospital going defunct, preservation of unclaimed bodies has taken a severe beating.

Published: 12th June 2019 10:19 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th June 2019 10:38 AM   |  A+A-

SCB hospital morgue, Cuttack

SCB hospital morgue, Cuttack

Express News Service

CUTTACK: It looks like there is no place for unclaimed dead bodies at SCB Medical College and Hospital.

With the refrigeration system at the morgue of the State’s premier government-run hospital going defunct, preservation of unclaimed bodies has taken a severe beating.

Though the cooling system in the morgue is not working for more than the last six months, SCB authorities seem to be least bothered about the malfunction which has literally raised a stink in the hospital, alleged residents of the Millennium City.

In March 2016, a morgue house was established at SCBMCH to preserve dead bodies in Medico Legal Cases (MLCs).

Wecare Odisha, a registered public charitable trust, had donated a freezer having six trays which was installed inside the mortuary to facilitate preservation of bodies.  

According to the law, an unidentified body has to be preserved in a mortuary for at least 96 hours or four days.

However, this is not possible in SCB now due to the glitch in the freezer. Similarly, there is a need to preserve the body of a person for over 24 hours if the family of the deceased lives out of the State.

This too is not viable in the current scenario.

Due to the defunct freezer, unclaimed dead bodies are now being kept openly on the floor in the morgue. After two days, these bodies are starting to decompose, thereby spreading stench in the vicinity.

The foul smell emanating from the rotting bodies also makes patients admitted to other nearby wards uncomfortable and susceptible to various diseases.

Especially, the Skin and Diarrhoea wards located at a distance of only 10 metre from the mortuary are the worst affected where doctors, patients and their attendants are facing difficulties due to the stink.

SCBMCH Superintendent CBK Mohanty said the charitable trust which had donated the freezer has been requested to repair it.

Besides, the proposal for maintenance of the freezer has also been approved in Swasthya Bikash Samiti meeting.

After government approval of the proceeding, the freezer will be maintained by R&B department, he said. Managing trustee of Wecare Odisha Narayan Kumar said they faced difficulties in availing a technician to repair the defunct freezer.

“However, we have arranged a mechanic to repair the refrigeration system. Repair work will commence from Wednesday and is expected to be completed by Saturday,” he added.

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