Mumbai stampede: Hospital under fire for scribbling numbers on foreheads of victims

First Published 30, Sep 2017, 10:57 AM IST
Mumbai stampede Hospital under fire for scribbling numbers on foreheads of victims Elphinstone Road station death toll KEM Hospital
Highlights
  • Bodies of Elphinstone Road station stampede victims were  marked with numbers on forehead and their pictures put up for public display
  • The KEM hospital claimed the measure was taken to "avoid chaos"
  • Railways Minister Piyush Goyal has ordered officials to start working on shorter deadlines
  • A probe has been ordered, the guilty will be strictly punished, said Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis

Authorities at a hospital in Mumbai have come in for severe criticism for their "insensitive action" after the bodies of Elphinstone Road station stampede victims were  marked with numbers on forehead and their pictures put up for public display.

The KEM hospital claimed the measure was taken to "avoid chaos". The pictures of the victims were put up on a flex board at the hospital to expedite the process of identification, it said.

The move created outrage on social media with people lambasting the hospital for its "insensitivity".

"Is KEM hospital affixing numbers on bodies of deceased to identify and count the dead? So terrible! No respect! (sic)" tweeted a user.

"Stampede is depressing! What is more depressing is the attitude of authorities towards the dead bodies! (sic)" another Twitter post read. The hospital said it would have been a "big mental trauma to make the relatives see all 22 bodies" for identification.

"It would have become a chaotic and hectic exercise," said Dr Harish Pathak, head of the forensic science department of the KEM hospital. He issued a statement late last evening defending the hospital's decision.

"Hence, we took photographs of all the bodies, numbered them and displayed them to the relatives on a laptop screen" and a flex board thereafter, read the statement.

The numbers were erased after the autopsies, it said. He said it would be unjustified and unwise to criticise the scientific method adopted by the hospital for "speedy, honourable and smooth identification" of the victims.

Sort out problems within one  week: Railway Minister

Railways Minister Piyush Goyal has ordered officials to start working on shorter deadlines. Minister has asked the officials to resolve any issue that has stalled the projects. No project should be kept pending and everything should be sorted out with the authorities concerned within a week, he said. 

He has also directed the officers to identify similar locations prone to tragedies.

Work on war-footing: CM Fadnavis

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tonight visited the civic-run KEM Hospital where those injured in the deadly stampede at Elphinstone Road station footbridge have been admitted.

Fadnavis, who returned to the city from a three-day tour of South Korea and Singapore on Friday evening, met the injured persons and also spoke to the hospital authorities.

"Not only Maharashtra but the whole country is in a shock over this tragic incident. Twenty-two people have died while 39 are still admitted in the hospital, out of which one person is critical," Fadnavis said, speaking to reporters outside the hospital.      

"The railway ministry has ordered a thorough probe into this incident. The guilty will be strictly punished. It is important to ensure that such incidents are not repeated in future and hence an audit of all the bridges has been started by the railway ministry. All necessary work will be done on the war-footing," he added.

 

 

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