KOCHI: For the first time in the State, the government has given nod to a private hospital in Kochi to conduct medico-legal-autopsies of patients who die while undergoing treatment.
The Department of Forensic Medicine at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS), Kochi, will have to comply with the stringent conditions set by the government while attending cases involving death of patients who die while undergoing treatment at the hospital.
According to Dr Umadethan B, professor of forensic medicine at AIMS, postmortem of dead bodies related to cases registered in eight police stations located near the AIMS are currently being conducted at the hospital.
“The new government order allowing private hospitals to conduct postmortem of patients who die while undergoing treatment would be a major relief to the relatives of the deceased persons.
“The hospital attends several accident cases, wherein injured persons are brought from various parts of the State. In cases of death, the bodies have to be taken to the respective government hospitals for completing the legal procedures.
“Now, we can conduct the postmortem here itself and hand over the body to relatives. Considering the difficulties faced by the relatives, we had made a request to the government in this regard two months ago,” he said.
The Home Department, after consulting with the Department of Medical Sciences, has set a number of conditions for the conduct of postmortem at the hospital. Suspicious, controversial and sensational death cases should be referred to a government hospital.
However, if the relatives of the deceased insist on conducting the postmortem at AIMS the final decision should be taken by a committee headed by the Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO), Station House Officer and District Medical Officer.
The autopsies conducted at the hospital should be covered by CCTV, and the video recording should be preserved for 10 years.
Also, a copy of the video recording should be handed over to the District Magistrate and the District Police Chief.
The upper age limit of doctors conducting postmortem should be fixed at 65 years.
The name and designation of the doctors should be specified, and should be reported to the Home Department. The hospital should have sufficient staff, equipment and facilities to conduct medico-legal autopsies throughout the year.
Kochi City Police Commissioner K G James said that he had received the government order. However, the hospital has not started conducting autopsies.
“The order from the Home Department came recently. It is up to the hospital to conduct postmortem as per the order. Currently, deaths due to traffic accidents, reported by the traffic police stations, are attended there,” he said.