Activists demand more women attendants at Mumbai morgues | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Activists demand more women attendants at Mumbai morgues

Of the two women forensic doctors, one works at a municipal hospital and the other at a state government hospital

mumbai Updated: Nov 04, 2017 00:44 IST
Yesha Kotak
The demand will be difficult to implement because there only two women working as forensic doctors at the nine hospitals in the city that conduct post-mortems
The demand will be difficult to implement because there only two women working as forensic doctors at the nine hospitals in the city that conduct post-mortems(Representational photo/AFP)

Activists have demanded that bodies of women brought for post-mortem at Mumbai’s public hospitals should only be handled by women morgue attendants.

However, the demand will be difficult to implement because there only two women working as forensic doctors at the nine hospitals in the city that conduct post-mortems. The other employees at the post-mortem centres, whose job it is to prepare Accidental Death Report (ADR) and prepare the body for the autopsy, if the cause of death is not clear, are all men.

“If we have women doctors, nurse, labourers and police officers, then why can’t we have a separate morgue and women staff members conducting post-mortem,” said Aziz Amreliwala, an activist who has written to the state government asking for more women attendants at the morgues. 

However, the officials have a different story to tell, with around 124 posts of forensic doctors and assistants at morgues in five state government hospitals (the other four hospitals are municipal hospitals), around 15 posts are vacant, but there aren’t any women who would want to work in morgue. Of the two women forensic doctors, one works at a municipal hospital and the other at a state government hospital. It has been a tough task to get more women doctors, said senior forensic officials. 

“When we make the announcement for vacant positions, we call for males as well as females. There have been times when all the applicants have backed out even after appearing for the interview. It is a difficult task for females, and they don’t prefer to take the job,” said Dr SM Patil, police surgeon. 

Though the number of post-mortems centres have increased - there were only three earlier, there is an increase in the number of female doctors taking up forensic courses. But, no women are coming forward to work as autopsy assistants. With around 2,220 post-mortems in the last 10 months, Rajawadi Hospital in Ghatkopar gets the most number of accident cases in the city, but the hospital does not have women morgue workers. 

“Somehow women doing such jobs is not acceptable to society,” said Dr Girish Tarate, medical officer, Rajawadi Hospital.

“In forensics, one’s job is demanding and challenging, which is not a lot of women prefer taking it up,” said Dr Vasudha Apte, former head of the department of forensics department at BYL Nair and TN Hospital, Mumbai Central.