The Department of Forensic Medicine provides the Mortuary services and preserves dead bodies under the following situations:
- The MLC deaths of the South and South East district of state of Delhi.
- The MLC deaths of patients of other state/districts dying in AIIMS during treatment.
- Non-MLC deaths of patients dying in AIIMS during treatment.
- Due to limited capacity in the cold chambers, Non-MLC deaths other than those dying in the hospital will be preserved only after considering the available space in cold chambers, rationale and need of the relatives.
CUSTODY OF MLC BODIES
- As per the law of land, the custodian of dead bodies in all cases of deaths where further legal investigations are required is the jurisdictional police.
- The hospital acts as a facilitator for preserving the dead bodies till police investigations are going on.
- The custody and responsibility of body directly lies with the Police without any third party intervention.
- The request for preservation is entertained by authorized doctors of AIIMS who write as “allowed to be preserved in morgue under the custody of police”.
- In absence of custodian police the possibility of exchange of dead bodies in this situation also exists.
- The department provides logistics like space, morgue cabinets and class IV assistants for local shifting of the dead bodies.
- To summarize, it is the responsibility of the police personnel for taking 24 hours care of all such dead bodies of MLCs and maintaining safe legal custody of the MLC corpse.
PRESERVATION OF MLC DEAD BODIES DYING OUTSIDE AIIMS
- The police personnel preserving the body must ensure that tag/ Label indicating the name of police post with FIR/DD number has been put on the dead body by the police for purposes of identification.
- No dead body will be received and stored in the cold storage without any identity tags/labels.
- The permission for preservation of the body has to be taken from the officer Incharge on duty by filling a request form.
- In case of unknown bodies, the postmortem examination should be conducted as soon as possible after 72 hrs of death to avoid decomposition changes which may hinder the determination of cause & manner of death.
PROCEDURE FOR RELEASE OF DEAD BODIES OF PATIENTS (MLC AND NON MLC) DYING IN AIIMS
- In a MLC case, death occurring in any of the clinical areas viz. inpatient wards/ICU/Emergency, the dead body will be mandatorily sent to the mortuary.
- In case of the death of an non-MLC patient, if the relatives of the patient want to receive the dead body without delay, then the sister I/C/ senior most sister on duty will hand over the body to the relatives (against receipt in the death register) along with the dead body receipt slip of the patient, against clearance received from the central admission office. The ward sister will keep one copy of dead body receipt slip from one of the death report forms before sending the 2 copies of the death report form to the central admission and enquiry office (which is otherwise taken by the mortuary staff along with the dead body shifted to the mortuary).
- The procedure followed in such cases will essentially remain the same i.e. after the death of a patient, his/her attendant will go to central admission and enquiry office (after clearing bills etc.) from where he will get a dead body receipt slip with stamp “Body may be handed over”.
- The patient’s attendants will now approach the ward sister (instead of the mortuary) and she will take their signatures accepting the receipt of the dead body in her death register (In place of signatures of mortuary attendant who would have signed if the body was to be taken to mortuary).
- The ward sister will keep the dead body receipt slip (with stamp from central admission office) in her records and will give dead body receipt slip kept with her from second copy of death report form (which is otherwise taken by the mortuary attendant along with the dead body and is given by him to the patient’s attendant along with the body) while retaining the dead body receipt slip (with stamp from central admission office) in her records.
- However, in all such cases, the relatives have to be gently advised to complete the formalities and remove the patient’s body within one hour of the declaration of the death; otherwise the body may be sent to the mortuary. This discretion will remain with the ward sister, who may request the mortuary to take dead body of a non-MLC patient as well.
PRESERVATION OF NON-MLC DEAD BODIES DYING OUTSIDE AIIMS
- AIIMS department of Forensic Medicine has two mortuaries-main AIIMS and trauma centre and is presently catering to jurisdiction of South and South-East Delhi with an annual turnover of about 3000 dead bodies. Due to the limited availability of space in the cold chambers, the department cannot preserve the bodies of non MLC Deaths dying outside AIIMS.
- In case of exceptional circumstances, the relatives in such cases should submit a written application to the HOD, Forensic Medicine/ Mortuary Incharge who will permit for the preservation of the body.
- Such dead bodies will be preserved after the permission of HOD/ Mortuary Incharge/ authorized officer only after considering the available space in cold chambers, rationale and need of the relatives.
TRANSPORT OF DEAD BODY FROM HOSPITAL TO MORTUARY
- After death the body should be properly labeled mentioning the Name, Father’s name, Admission number, ward, date & time of death etc by nursing staff on duty.
- In addition, in Medico-legal Cases, the letters ‘M.L.C.’ should be put on the label prominently.
- Nursing staff on duty in the ward should ensure that surgical operation/drainage site if any is properly dressed before the body is wrapped in leak-proof sheets/plastic bag and handed over to next of kin or mortuary attendant.
- The Mortuary Attendant on duty is informed that a pick up or removal is necessary from the wards.
- The hearse van service is provided free of cost for transportation of the body from the hospital to the Mortuary.
- The Morgue attendant will receive the duly wrapped and labeled bodies in a courteous, sensitive and professional manner, along with the relevant records including death slip.
INTAKE PROCEDURE AND MAINTENANCE OF MORTUARY REGISTER
- The morgue attendants will receive the ‘Death Slip’ from the hospital along with the dead body.
- Identity of the body should be confirmed by matching the label on body by the Death slip particulars and should be matched with ID band.
- The morgue attendant will note the complete details of the death slip in the register and ensure that the details in the dead body tag are matched with the death slip.