The Central government’s Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital is all set to start its forensic medicine department, to perform post-mortem examinations.
This comes days after the Delhi High Court rebuked the government over the delay in getting the post-mortem report after the death of Arunachal Pradesh student Nido Taniam and directed it to improve facilities for conducting autopsies in order to ensure speedy probes.
Until now, RML hospital, which has a post-graduate institute for doctors and a mortuary, referred autopsies to other Central government institutes, including Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC) and AIIMS. This was leading to delay in getting the final autopsy reports.
“Two assistant professors have been appointed to the posts. We will start performing autopsies at the earliest in order to help ease the burden on other hospitals and also ensure speedy probes,” Dr H K Kar, medical superintendent of RML hospital, said.
While the forensics department was started last year, the process for purchasing equipment, upgrading the mortuary, setting up facilities for video-recording autopsies and storage of toxicology and viscera samples took some time.
From March, the hospital will also start a 238-bed emergency block, with a 68-bed ICU and three operation theatres.
“With the upgrading of emergency block, the numbers of medico-legal cases reaching the hospital will also go up. So we wanted to ensure that our forensics department was up to the mark,” an official said.
Currently, 10 hospitals in Delhi, including
, Safdarjung and LHMC, carry out autopsies. Delhi government hospitals such as Lok Nayak, Guru Teg Bahadur, Deen Dayal Upadhyay hospital and Aruna Asaf Ali hospital also perform autopsies.
Commenting on a preliminary post-mortem report from AIIMS in the Nido Taniam case, the Delhi High court had stated,”If a post-mortem report takes 15 days in Delhi, what will happen in other places?”
The High Court had also asked if AIIMS was “the only hospital in the city doing autopsies”.
Since then, doctors at the forensic medicine department at AIIMS have submitted a proposal to the administration to set up an advanced accredited forensic laboratory at the institute with the latest DNA finger-printing, toxicology and histopathology testing facilities.
This will ensure that tests on viscera and internal organs needed to confirm the cause of death, which are now being referred to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory in Rohini, can be conducted at AIIMS.
“We have a toxicology and histopathology laboratory at AIIMS, but these facilities are not accredited yet and we are primarily using them for research. If this project is cleared, we can conduct our own tests instead of waiting for test reports from another laboratory,” a senior doctor from the forensic medicine department at AIIMS said.