Expert shows ‘rite’ way to handle bodies of victims without fear

There are apprehensions among medical professionals and even the government on how to handle a Covid-19 dead body and whether autopsy should be done.

Published: 24th May 2020 06:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th May 2020 06:34 AM   |  A+A-

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Express News Service

BENGALURU: There are apprehensions among medical professionals and even the government on how to handle a Covid-19 dead body and whether autopsy should be done. But some doctors say autopsy is a must as it will help know how the virus has affected the body and the cause of death. Prof Dr Dinesh Rao, Head of Department, Forensic Medicine, Oxford Medical College in Bengaluru, told The New Sunday Express that he had a technique where after post-mortem, the body can be cremated with all religious last rites without fear of the spread of Covid-19.

“Through the Cover-On technique, the risk of spread of infection can be reduced and last rites can be conducted. Here, the deceased is disinfected first with hypochloride solution and then chlorine or bleaching powder is applied to the body. Next, all the oral orifices (like the nose and ears) are stuffed with cotton dipped in hypochloride solution — they should be made airtight. Then wrap the body with foil or cling wrap. The face can be left open for the family to see, the forehead and scalp will be sealed with duct tape,” he said.

He added that it’s a simple technique which every State can adopt, but the government should ensure that the bodies are cremated and not buried. In case of contagious virus infections, it is advisable to cremate because when the body starts to decompose, the fluids released contaminate the underground water leading to more infections.

He said that he has handled many high-risk cases like HIV, TB and H1N1 and this method has been found ideal as it ensures there is no spread of the virus from one person to the other. He also said that he was willing to conduct autopsy of those who died due to Covid-19 and was awaiting permission from the State Government. Dr Rao had approached the government on March 23 and sought permission, but till date there has been no response.

He stressed that autopsy is essential as it helps understand how the virus had affected the person and what impact it had. “Autopsy is a norm and a must in case of every death. What are the immediate causes, the antecedent causes and the underlying causes can only be ascertained after an autopsy. It is being done in Italy and the USA. India and Karnataka should take the lead and take the decision,” he said.


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