Nine suspended over disfigurement of dead child's body

Nine suspended over disfigurement of dead child's body

Nine persons, including two doctors, were suspended today in connection with disfigurement of a dead infant, reportedly by rats at a government hospital here.

As the shocking incident drew public outrage, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa held a review meeting with Health Minister V S Vijay, Finance Minister O Panneerselvam and officials in the wake of reports that the cheek and ear of the 12-day-old infant had been gnawed by rats.

The parents, who were handed over the body, alleged that rats had bitten the baby while it was kept in a hospital room. Jayalalithaa admitted lapse on the part of hospital authorities and said contrary to established procedures, the body was not handed over to the parents soon after its death as a post-mortem was not required and the parents had signed all the necessary documents in this regard.

The premature baby had died of natural causes and there were no bite marks when her father saw her body on being informed of her death, she said in a statement here.

"The body was not kept in the mortuary... It was wrapped in a cloth and kept in a room and the father of the child noticed bite marks on her face when the body was handed over to him the next day," she said, quoting an official report.

The bite marks could be due to biological reasons also, but post-mortem and forensic tests of the tissue had been ordered to ascertain if she was bitten by rats, she said, adding nine persons, including two doctors had been suspended.

The meeting decided that government hospitals should ensure timely handing over of bodies which do not require post-mortem while efforts would be taken to ensure hospital premises were free of stray dogs, cats and rats.

Meanwhile a PIL was filed in the Madras High Court, seeking a direction to government to issue proper directions to all government and private hospitals in the state to keep premises of hospitals neat and exterminate pests and animals like dogs, cats and rodents and contamination through them.

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