The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Morgue rats on nibble spree

An ailing Visham Roy had told his family that he hoped for a painless death and a proper cremation in the presence of his son and daughters.

On Tuesday afternoon, when he died at Sambhunath Pandit Hospital, his family decided to honour his last wish and wait for his son and four daughters to arrive before his cremation. So, they kept the body in the hospital morgue.

On Wednesday morning, when Visham’s children received the body, they were in for a shock — their father’s face was mutilated.

The rats in the hospital’s morgue had nibbled at the elderly man’s ears and the tip of his nose through the night.

This is the second beastly tale emerging from the Elgin Road hospital in recent times. In November 2005, black ants had nibbled at an eye of Gouri Rani Chakrabarty, admitted at Sambhunath Pandit Hospital. The patient later died of diabetic coma.

Shocked at the horrific sight on Wednesday, Visham Roy’s relatives demanded an explanation from the hospital authorities. Pushed around, from pillar to post, they lost patience and attacked the hospital’s superintendent, T.K. Manna. They were joined by other protesters.

Around 11.45 am, a group of youths barged into Manna’s chamber and smeared black ink on his face and uniform. Cops from Bhowanipore police station were called in to restore order.

“The patient was admitted to the hospital on February 19 and he died on Tuesday. Septicaemia had set in and he was also suffering from meningitis. This morning, when the body was brought out, there were injury marks on his body. His relatives later went on the rampage,” Manna said.

“I have sent a detailed report about the incident to the health top brass and have even lodged an FIR with the local police,” he added.

The hospital authorities have constituted a five-member committee, chaired by the hospital’s senior gynaecologist Ujjal Roy, to probe the “unfortunate incident”.

The committee would speak to all concerned — including Dr Basudev Hazra, under whom Visham Roy was admitted — and submit its report within three days.

Ward master Deepak Saha has been asked to give an explanation in writing, since he was on duty on Tuesday night.

“We are not bothered about all these formalities. On Tuesday afternoon, we had paid the men at the morgue Rs 150 — they had demanded Rs 500 — to ensure that our father’s body was kept on the top rack and would be safe... How does it feel to see the body of your father with his nose bitten into and his ears bitten off'” asked Amar, Visham’s son, who reached the hospital from Patna this morning.

The Roys also protested the refusal of the hospital to offer an explanation about the act of callousness in the morgue, used for preservation of dead bodies. “Someone should at least have the courtesy to admit that something went wrong somewhere. There may have been similar incidents in the past and nothing has been done to set things right,” said Gorak Roy, a relative.

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