Authorities at a hospital here have come in for severe criticism for their “insensitivity” 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 nos on bodies of deceased to identify & 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.