No relatives, no friends, no contacts traced... 72 hours in... no last rites for 46-year-old Covid victim in Pune
On April 30, the Maharashtra government issued guidelines to hospitals to regulate the final rites of Covid-infected deceased.Updated: Jul 01, 2020 16:26 IST
The body of a 46-year-old Covid-19 victim has lain in the mortuary of Sassoon Hospital since June 28, the day the man passed away at the hospital itself.
“We received a letter from the police. PMC officials were informed and the procedure was completed this evening (Tuesday). The body was handed over to PMC officials at 7pm and they will undertake the cremation process,” said Dr Swapna Jadhav, resident medical officer, Sassoon General Hospital.
However, in violation of state guidelines and due to the fact that the neither the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) nor the police were able to trace any next of kin, it has taken 72 hours for a Covid-positive victim to be cremated.
On April 30, the Maharashtra government issued guidelines to hospitals to regulate the final rites of Covid-infected deceased.
As per the guidelines, in effect from May 2, the body of a Covid-19 victim should be moved from the hospital within 30 minutes, with final rites concluded within 12 hours.
“We have a very smooth procedure in place for disposal of bodies. The body is first handed over to the family, but they are not allowed to conduct last rites. Once information about a body is provided to us, the disposal team gets into action. Now, with this body, I’m not aware where the hold-up was. We have disposed of 500 Covid-19 bodies till now without a glitch in the system,” said Dr Kalpana Baliwant, assistant medical officer, PMC.
Dr Baliwant heads the department that disposes the bodies of Covid-19 victims as per religious preferences.
The man died of acute respiratory failure and acute respiratory distress syndrome, according to PMC data.
He also had a heart disease along with being Covid-19 positive. He was undergoing treatment since June 9.
“The registered address is Shukrawar peth. An unidentified man brought him to hospital had gave a phone number and a forwarding address. However, the phone has been off and there was nobody at that address,” said police inspector (crime) Uttam Chakre of Khadak police station.
The Khadak police then wrote a letter to the hospital to inform them about the situation.
Dr Naresh Zanjad, head of the forensic department at Sassoon hospital, said, “This is the first time such a thing has happened - that we are unable to track the relatives of the deceased. As soon as the person was declared dead we tried to contact the relatives, but the only number we had was not reachable. We have now informed the PMC who will dispose of the body as per ICMR protocols.”
Officials of another police station also tried to track down the relatives on Monday.
“The Sassoon officials had provided the address. We checked it on Monday and found it to be in the jurisdiction of Khadak police station. Therefore, the information was passed on to them,” said senior police inspector Jagannath Kalaskar of Faraskhana police station.