Start Submission Become a Reviewer

Reading: A Study on Disposal of Unidentified Dead Bodies in a Tertiary Care Hospital in Sri Lanka Alo...

Download

A- A+
Alt. Display

Original Articles

A Study on Disposal of Unidentified Dead Bodies in a Tertiary Care Hospital in Sri Lanka Along with Legal Provisions and Procedural Circumstances

Author:

H. T. D. W. Ariyarathna

University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Gangodawila, Nugegoda, LK
About H. T. D. W.
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences
X close

Abstract

Introduction: It is mandatory for Forensic Pathologists (FPs)/Judicial Medical Officers (JMOs) in Sri Lanka to handle the disposal procedure of unidentified dead bodies, and it is not unusual for these doctors to face many hardships during this process. It requires the help of many stakeholders to fulfil all legal requirements before the proper disposal process. This retrospective data analysis was performed to study the demography of such decedents and also to address evidentially the prevailing issues surrounding the disposal of unidentified decedents. Based on the study the deficiencies and strengths of the present procedure of disposal of decedents were studied. The existing legal procedure of inquest in relation to the unidentified decedents was also studied.   

 

Methodology: The details of the unidentified decedents available in the registers of the Colombo South Teaching Hospital were perused and analysed from August 2016 to August 2020. The communication file with police and the records pertaining to the mortuary coolers were also perused.  The present law of the country related to the disposal of unidentified decedents and prevailing procedural circumstances are also scrutinized.      

 

Results: One-hundred and forty-one (141) unidentified dead bodies were autopsied (03% of all dead bodies) during the four years. The male to female ratio was 13:1, and the majority of victims (n= 81 and 57%) were of 61-80 years age range. The cause of death was natural in 81%. After receiving the dead body, the meantime to perform the autopsy was 90 days and 5 days to dispose of the dead body. The Police had handed over 50% (n=71) of decedents to the hospital.

 

Conclusion: The duration to perform the post-mortem examination from the date of handover was lengthy, and it revealed that this delay was due to the slow progression of essential initial steps that to be followed by the police. One recommendation to rectify this delay is utilizing the hospital web page to display details of the unidentified decedents. There is no “specified” procedure for the disposal of unidentified decedents in Sri Lanka. But it is covered under the inquest procedure and with the Departmental Orders of the Department of Police for a certain extent.
How to Cite: Ariyarathna, H.T.D.W., 2021. A Study on Disposal of Unidentified Dead Bodies in a Tertiary Care Hospital in Sri Lanka Along with Legal Provisions and Procedural Circumstances. Medico-Legal Journal of Sri Lanka, 9(1), pp.1–6. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/mljsl.v9i1.7436
Published on 30 Jun 2021.
Peer Reviewed

Downloads

  • PDF (EN)

    comments powered by Disqus