Chilling plant at GMC defunct, bodies often rot

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AmritsarPosted at: Jun 20, 2017, 1:20 AM; last updated: Jun 20, 2017, 1:20 AM (IST)Negative publicity has ‘dulled enthusiasm of people’ to donate their bodies after death


The dead house at Government Medical College in Amritsar. Photo: Vishal Kumar

Manmeet Singh Gill

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 19


The defunct refrigeration chamber at the dead house of Government Medical College here has forced the authorities to shift the location of dead bodies’ preservation for education purposes of medical students.
The Department of Anatomy of the college is preserving at present bodies pledged by people and donated to the institute in one of the halls inside the department. Chemical-filled tubs are being used to preserve the bodies.
The cooling plant of the college is lying defunct since the past three years. Though a grant of Rs 22 lakh has been issued for setting up two automated refrigeration chambers, the project could not see the light of the day due to the dilapidated condition of the building, said sources at the college.
The dead house at present is being used to house bodies of patients who die while being admitted to the college. Slabs of ice are used to preserve the bodies till the next morning when these are released after postmortem.
However, in the absence of proper refrigeration, the inside and the outside of the dead house is filled with the smell of rotten flesh. The defunct refrigeration room and the negative publicity caused by it has dulled the enthusiasm of the people and their families, who wish to donate their bodies after their death, admitted a senior official.
The college at present is using around 25-30 bodies for medical education purposes, mainly for dissection by the students.
Officials at the college stated that the building of the dead house falls under the jurisdiction of the Public Works Department and no process had been initiated by it for the installation of the refrigeration plants, resulting in delays.
The head, Department of Anatomy, Dr Ravi Kant, said, “We are no more associated with the dead house, as we have shifted the preservation tubs to the hall inside the department.” He added that there was a wide misconception that bodies could not be preserved without refrigeration. “We have specimens preserved for the past 55 years. There is no difference except that we have to change chemicals after a few months,” he said.
The Medical Superintendent, Dr Ram Sarup Sharma, said the matter was in the knowledge of senior department officials. “The matter concerns various departments and as such it has been delayed,” he said, adding that they would again take up the matter with the senior officials.

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