101 bodies dissected so far,but doctors expect body count to rise

Dead bodies,lime-based disinfectants and two-day-old “desi” (locally brewed liquor in the medicos’ parlance) extracted from the stomach of the corpses – this is the scene at the postmortem room of the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital since the last three days.

Written by Adam Halliday | Ahmedabad | Published: July 11, 2009 1:29 am

Dead bodies,lime-based disinfectants and two-day-old “desi” (locally brewed liquor in the medicos’ parlance) extracted from the stomach of the corpses – this is the scene at the postmortem room of the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital since the last three days.

A total of 101 bodies have so far been dissected here; the samples stored in sealed bottles,and the corpses stitched up and wrapped. But the intriguing thing is that a single doctor has performed 44 of these postmortems,when the stench would make any ordinary person’s stomach turn.

Doctors at the postmortem room attended to the first body of a confirmed victim around 5 pm on Tuesday,and according to Dr Gautam L Sharma,the hospital’s Liaison Officer,the body count could rise. “We have 25 to 35 beds ready in case there are more bodies,” he said.

A lone body was awaiting autopsy a little after 6 pm on Friday.

About 29 doctors,including eight from the Forensic department and 10 from the Ophthalmology Department,are working in 8am – 2pm and 2pm – 8am shifts.

A doctor said on condition of anonymity that the number of postmortems has increased with each passing day (with three on Tuesday evening,32 on Wednesday,53 on Thursday),but dropped to 17 bodies on Friday. But it is still twice the daily average. But other sources have put the figure at 22 on Wednesday,44 on Thursday,and 35 on Friday. Nevertheless,an air of secrecy hangs around the hospital premises.

Doctors at the postmortem room are tight-lipped about the body count and are also not revealing the name of the doctor who dissected 44 bodies. A request for a meeting with him was replied to with “He just left.”

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