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EditorialNishtar Hospital tragedy

Nishtar Hospital tragedy

According to some news outlets, 500 rotting bodies were found on the rooftop of Nishtar Hospital in Multan. Although the reports are being denied by the anatomy department of the hospital, video evidence shows a number of decaying bodies, if not 500. Moreover, the hospital has also claimed that putrefied cadavers are used for educational purposes and that this is how the process goes. The gruesome incident shows how people and organizations have no respect for the dead.

Medical experts dubbed the entire incident “inhumane, unethical, and a violation of SOPs,” and the Punjab government also acted on Friday in response to a significant media uproar and ordered an investigation into the incident. Also taking note of the situation, Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi asked the healthcare secretary for a report. He declared that throwing bodies onto the hospital’s roof was cruel and that the responsible employees should face severe disciplinary measures.

The hospital’s Anatomy Department head, Prof. Dr Maryam Ashraf, explained that since the hospital is a teaching hospital, cadavers are used for the purpose of learning. She claimed that the hospital had a mortuary where unidentified and unclaimed bodies were kept, while the bodies that began to rot were put in airy rooms on the mortuary’s roof. According to her, some of the unclaimed bodies were employed for the purpose of instructing medical students in strict accordance with the guidelines established by the home and health departments. She also refuted claims that there were over 500 bodies there, arguing that medical professionals would comprehend the situation. She urged medical professionals to spread awareness of the use of cadavers in medicine.

Even if the bodies were kept for later use by students, the inhumane treatment could not be sanctioned at all. Even if the bodies were of unidentified people or drug addicts, everyone’s body deserves proper treatment after they have passed. Even if it is allowed for the medical community to use bodies for the greater good, they must, at least, respect them and not keep them in such conditions. The videos showed birds attacking the bodies, and no one deserves this after death.

It was also revealed that the bodies did not have many of their organs. Medical professionals from the hospital stated that this is how cadavers are kept for later inspection by students. However, some pointed out that this could also be a case of organ trafficking. In a country like Pakistan, this is quite probable but nothing can be said until a proper investigation is done.

With the advancements in technology, the medical community must develop processes through which medical students can learn whatever they need to without using real bodies. Although this practice has always been the norm and it aids in the development and discovery of better medical practices, it does pose an ethical dilemma. Therefore, alternative practices must be researched and adopted.

The case of Nishtar hospital should be thoroughly investigated and those responsible for this horrific event must be held accountable as soon as possible. The government must also enforce laws that allow for the dignity of unclaimed bodies to remain intact.

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