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RG Kar Medical College & Hospital: New autopsy method cuts contamination risk in Kolkata – ET HealthWorld

Kolkata: A new technique of autopsy on bodies of Covid-positive patients at RG Kar Medical College & Hospital may herald a paradigm shift in the way post-mortem is conducted.

The result of the study conducted at the state-run medical college has just been published in a reputable British Medical Journal. According to the study, instead of the conventional way of opening the chest cavity with an incision from chin to the lower abdomen, doctors at RG Kar approached the chest cavity through the abdominal cavity by opening the diaphragm and dissected the contents of the chest using a long-blade knife.

“The advantage of this approach is that the autopsy surgeon and pathologists do not have to open the chest cavity by dissecting the sternum. This enhances safety by nearly doing away with the possibility of droplet infection. The technique is complete, simple, less time-consuming and conducive to sample collection, and even reduces the possibility of body fluid seepage following a post-mortem examination,” the study, authored by Somnath Das, head of forensic medicine and the toxicology department at RG Kar, Anshuma Roy from the anatomy department of Raniganj Government Medical College, and Rina Das from the forensic medicine department of NRS Medical College, concluded.

Amidst the pandemic, doctors at RG Kar started conducting pathological autopsy on bodies of those who had tested Covid-positive with consent from the state health department, including that of body donation pioneer Brojo Roy of Ganadarpan.

“In total, we conducted pathological autopsy on 25 Covid-positive bodies in eight months using this method, which we found is less time consuming, requires fewer equipment and which shortens the exposure to professionals conducting the autopsy,” said Somnath Das.

The team got the technique validated after taking input from 17 forensic specialists. Eleven reviewers of the report suggested this new approach could be accepted as the normal way of conducting autopsy on a corpse, including those involved in medico-legal cases.

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