Four ad-hoc employees of Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in Lucknow have been suspended after a 40-year-old woman’s body in the mortuary was found disfigured, allegedly by a dog. Dr M L Bhargava, Medical Superintendent of the hospital said, “The woman was brought to the hospital on Saturday morning after she consumed poison due to some personal issues. She died at 6.05 pm despite our best efforts. As it was a case of suicide, the body was kept in mortuary by the ward boys and supervisor in the presence of her family members so that it could be later sent to King George Medical College for postmortem. The mortuary was then locked for the night.”
“In the morning when the ward boy opened the mortuary, the face of the body was badly damaged and there was blood on the floor. Though staff members who opened the mortuary are saying it was a dog(s), we cannot be sure if it was a dog or any other wild animal,” Bhargava said, adding that the mortuary has wooden doors and a collapsible gate.
Meanwhile, family members of the woman have claimed that jewellery on the body has gone missing. “A dog won’t damage the body like that and it would not touch a body with poison in it. There was a mangalsutra, earrings, two rings, payal and kangan on the body which are missing,” a family member said.
Bhargava denied the claims, saying that at the time of providing death certificate, there is an unwritten protocol of asking relatives of the dead to remove any jewellery on the body. On the question of alleged negligence on part of the hospital, he said charges of negligence could be made only if there was a lack in treatment or facility while she was alive.
“However, we cannot deny that the incident is unfortunate and should not have happened,” he said, adding that an inquiry committee comprising three Additional Director-level members has been formed to probe the matter.
“A case has been registered by the husband of the deceased under section 297 (trespassing on burial places) and 404 (dishonest misappropriation of property possessed by deceased person) of the IPC,” S K Rai, Station Officer of Vibhuti Khand police station said.
Awanish Awasthi, Principal Secretary, Information, said a security guard, a ward boy and two supervisors have been dismissed. “The Principal Secretary, Health, has also asked the hospital director for a case report which will probably be submitted by Monday. As the family members are alleging foul play, an inquiry is necessary,” Awasthi added.