Government tweaks norms to allow post-mortem at night at hospitals with adequate infrastructure

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Union health ministry on Monday announced that it was tweaking protocols to allow post-mortems at night in hospitals with adequate infrastructure, in order to help relatives of the deceased and to aid organ harvesting for quick transplant in those with need.  The latest decision puts a curtain on a British-era practice that said post-mortems should not be done after sunsets. This practice, over the years, however has been adopted in some select medical institutes such as AIIMS, Delhi and a few others.  The government, meanwhile, also clarified that cases under categories such as homicide, suicide, rape, decomposed bodies and suspected foul play should not be subjected for post-mortem after sunset unless there is a law and order situation. It also said that the fitness and adequacy of infrastructure in hospitals should be assessed by the hospital-in-charge to ensure that there is no dilution of evidentiary value.

ALSO READ | India, the first nation to transition to endemic Covid The new protocol, now shared with all ministries and states, also mandates that video recording of post-mortems at night be done to rule out any suspicion and be preserved for future reference for legal purposes. The latest decision comes in the wake of various representations made before the government. “Apart from friends and relatives of the deceased, this new procedure also promotes organ donation and transplant as organs can be harvested in the stipulated time window after the procedure,” said the ministry.  The demands, said a statement, was examined by a technical committee in the directorate general of health services which felt that in view of the rapid advancement and improvement in technology, especially availability of required lighting and infrastructure required for post-mortem, performing night time post-mortem in hospitals is now feasible. “The protocol stipulates that post-mortem for organ donation be taken up on priority and be conducted even after sunset at the hospitals which have the infrastructure for conducting such post-mortem on a regular basis,” said the ministry.