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In a 1st, autopsy of Covid victim done for research

KOLKATA: For the first time in Eastern India and probably in the country as well, RG Kar Medical College and Hospital conducted pathological autopsies of a patient, who died of Covid, for research purposes.

The attempt is aimed at learning more about the Coronavirus, which is completely new to the world and has unleashed mayhem across the globe. The pathological autopsy was conducted on the body of Brojo Roy, Secretary of Gana Darpan, who died of Covid at a city hospital on Thursday morning.

Roy, who was the face of the body donation movement, had pledged his body for the promotion of medical science. Roy's dream was to donate his body for medical research and his dream transformed into reality. His family members were not too sure if the body would be utilised for medical research as he was Covid infected. Following the state government's initiatives, the RG Kar Medical College and Hospital has been successfully able to perform the clinical autopsy of the body.

A 3-member team of doctors headed by Dr Somenath Das, head of forensic medicine, was constituted by the hospital to carry out the clinical autopsy. "Our purpose is to find out the chain of circumstances that happened before the death of the patient and how the infection transmitted from one organ to the others and how they were damaged. Research aims to detect how the virus causes death after damaging all organs. This is called pathological physiology. Under this process we have done macroscopic examination and organs were extracted from the body. Some parts of these organs will be sent to labs for histopathology test. We will prepare the comprehensive report after the histopathology report arrives," Dr Das, who headed the entire procedure, said.

A pathologist and a microbiologist were also in the team. RG Kar Medical College and Hospital authorities prepared a detailed project and submitted it to the ICMR last year to seek permission to conduct pathological autopsy but it had raised certain issues.

The paper submitted to the Central agency talked about how to detect the changes happening to a person who is affected with COVID-19 and how the organs are damaged and eventually some patients die."The permission was held up due to ICMR rules. The National Human Rights Commission has also given a go ahead to clinical autopsy," added Dr Das.

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