India’s largest morgue opens in Goa today

NationThe Forensic Medicine and Taxicology Faculty and Mortuary block in Goa Medical College, Bambolim. Smita Nair

With a capacity to accommodate 150 bodies from a calamity site and a live forensic autopsy auditorium, the Forensic Medicine and Toxicology Faculty and Mortuary Block at Goa Medical College (GMC) in Bambolim, to be inaugurated Thursday, will be the country's first mass disaster medical infrastructure, automatically making it the largest morgue.

The building, with a full-fledged forensic academic institute, will also be the first to incorporate recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee by allocating a specially designed 'sexual assault crisis centre' in its premises.

The new facilities will include a three-tier autopsy approach, with an auditorium designed to accommodate 200 students, who will benefit from a live forensic autopsy. The second is a research-oriented space where autopsies can be conducted on bodies from extreme emergency scenes. The third is a scientifically designed room where doctors can practice on cadavers before any major transplants.

According to Dr V N Jindal, dean, GMC, the initial plan was to expand the existing morgue and forensic space, with the old mortuary's capacity of 60 bodies falling inadequate. "In Goa, we face a unique problem. With most of the family members of the deceased abroad, they tend to hold bodies for a longer period. Plus, there is the issue of space with the increasing number of unclaimed bodies. When we began to look for options to expand, being a medical college, we also decided to look to built a larger forensic space. We decided if we are going for a bigger capacity, we must include the concept of mass calamity as one needs to be prepared for such emergencies," said Dr Jindal.

Dr Madhu Godhkirekar, assistant professor at the Department of Forensic Medicine, GMC, who oversaw the project, said: "It was in 2006 when the planning began and the train bombings in Mumbai that year also proved to be a lesson. With such kinds of terror attacks and other calamities in mind, we decided that we need to be prepared for any kind of mass disaster."

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