Morgue freezers 'badly handled'

Repair agency blames RIMS for gas leak

By Our Bureau in Ranchi
  • Published 13.07.18
ON DEATHBED: The cold chambers at RIMS mortuary in Bariatu, Ranchi. Picture by Manob Chowdhary

Ranchi: Technicians summoned to repair the defunct cold chambers at Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) have blamed gas leak caused by manhandling for the problem that has been plaguing the state-run hospital's mortuary for three months now.

Praveen Brothers, the agency that maintains the five morgue freezers, have promised to fix the leaks in four and make them functional within a few days, but have at the same time warned against improper handling.

"We detected gas leak in the cold chambers, which was probably caused by poor handling by the staff at the mortuary. They may not have closed the doors properly after putting in or taking out bodies. The leaks have developed over a period of time. It is only natural that the freezers conked out," said an agency official.

He added that they would "pack the leak" once materials needed were available. "The packing materials are not readily available in the market. We have contacted a few suppliers and hope to get positive response by tonight (Thursday)."

A technician inspecting the damage said another reason why the four freezers were rendered useless was a dysfunctional main circuit breaker (MCB). "We have rectified that problem too. Technically, the freezers were on, but they weren't being able to maintain the required morgue temperatures," he said.

This newspaper had on July 11 highlighted how defunct freezers had turned the mortuary into a dump of decomposing bodies, the horrible stench of which was making stomachs churn.

Praveen Lohia, the president of nonprofit Mukti Sanstha that disposes of unclaimed bodies at RIMS, said the hospital authorities should now ensure a system to detect similar problems more promptly in the future.

The governing body of RIMS, headed by health minister Ramchandra Chandravanshi, has meanwhile expressed displeasure over the attitude of acing hospital director Dr R.K. Srivastava who has so far not taken against those responsible for the death of patients during the strike by junior doctors and nurses last month.

The minister has asked Srivastava to submit an action-taken report within two months, said Nidhi Khare, the state health secretary and ex-officio member of the governing body.

The meeting also decided to appoint an additional director of finance at RIMS and employ Jharkhand Administrative Services officers whenever necessary.

"We are committed to treating patients with dignity. Attendants of patients often face accommodation problems. So, we plan a shelter for them on the premises," Khare said, adding that a yoga centre and gym for patients was also on the cards.