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POST TIME: 14 October, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Sher-E-Bangla Medical College Hospital in Barishal
Forensic manpower crisis hampers work
Staff Reporter, Barishal

Forensic manpower 
crisis hampers work

Autopsy of dead bodies and preparation of postmorten reports are getting hampered due to a severe shortage of manpower at the forensic section of Barishal Sher-E-Bangla Medical College (SBMCH) Hospital. All unnatural deaths, including death from road accidents, suicide, electrocution and murder, are police matters and dead bodies are handed over to relatives only after postmortem. The current manpower crisis is only adding to the grief of bereaved relatives of those who lost their lives from unnatural causes.  

Eight posts, including those of one professor, one associate professor, two assistant professors, three lecturers and one medical officer, have been sanctioned for the forensic medicine department of SBMCH. Dr Refayetul Haidar, a lecturer at SBMC, is currently in charge of the forensic section of the hospital. He has to multitask throughout the day.  He has to teach the students, perform autopsy of dead bodies, conduct on-spot medical examination of victims, send viscera to Dhaka, give witness before the trial court, and attend training seminars, symposiums and other professional activities. Bijoy Dom, the only one who assists during an autopsy, was a retired MLSS employee of the hospital. He said he privately charged Tk. 400–1,000 for per autopsy from the relatives of a victim. Dr Refayetul Haidar said since there is no post of taxidermist in any public hospitals of the country, postmortem work was mostly done through private arrangements.

SBMCH director Dr Bakir Hossain said although Barishal was now a divisional city, senior physicians were not interested in staying there. "Besides, most doctors aren't interested in forensic medicine anymore," he added. He attributed the lack of interest in forensic medicine to the absence of any extra money for overtime. SBMCH principal Dr Syed Maksumul Huq said higher authorities had been informed about the situation. Filling the vacant posts remains uncertain due to a shortage of experienced manpower in the whole country, he added.

After passing out, new doctors try their best to get established through public and private practice as early as possible. But such a way of life could not be that of a forensic practitioner.