Millennium Post

Odisha issues guidelines on body disposal weeks after Majhi incident

Weeks after a tribal man carrying his wife's body on his shoulder in Odisha made global headlines, the state government today issued a guideline for proper disposal of dead bodies in health facilities.

"The body must be treated with dignity and respect. On no account should a body... Be allowed to be carried on shoulders, or strung on a pole, or in any manner that compromises dignity of the dead," the notification signed by Health and Family Welfare Secretary Arti Ahuja said.

The body should be carried on a stretcher or a cot and it should be kept appropriately in a designated place till all formalities are disposed of, the guideline said.

The notification issued 40 days after tribal man, Dana Majhi, walked 10 km carrying his wife's body on his shoulder after being allegedly denied a hearse by a hospital in Kalahandi district.

The Odisha government asked all district collectors, SPs, CDMOs and other authorities to ensure that the guideline is followed in letter and spirit.

The guideline was prepared keeping in mind three situations - patients expiring during treatment, brought dead cases and unclaimed bodies.

For removal of bodies from hospital, the guideline said the person(s) carrying the body must show "death slip" to the staff or the security personnel.

"If the person(s) fail to produce death slip, the matter should be brought to the notice of the medical officer or staff nurse on duty in the hospital," it said. The medical officers will file certificate on cause of death in the hospital. And the Medical Officer will also issue the death slip to the next of kin of the deceased who take the body, it said.

"The deceased persons' families should not be made to wait unnecessarily for completion of formalities. Rather the help desk and para-medical staff should be sensitised appropriately to help the family in the situation," it said.
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