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How important is an autopsy in a case like Sushant Singh Rajput?
According to our Indian judicial system, an autopsy is of extreme importance. It tells us various things – from identification, cause, manner of death, evidence that needs to be preserved, time after death – all questions are answered at the end of the autopsy. Therefore, it forms an important part of the evidence.
What factors do medical professionals take into account when performing an autopsy and drawing conclusions?
There are many different variations that can occur depending on the circumstances. Therefore, when conducting an autopsy, keeping in mind or interpreting the findings, we should keep a lot of things in mind. For example – the person’s gender, erection, age, the environment in which the body was found, whether it was summer or winter, temperature, whether the body was dressed, whether it was found in water or on dry ground and so on.
Can the same autopsy report be interpreted differently by two medical professionals?
Yes, there may be slight differences. When giving an opinion, one should always state that the opinions are based on the above comments. Therefore, if it goes to another expert, he knows the points that have been taken into account when coming to those conclusions. If they have anything to add, they can always refer to the facts taken into account in addition to the facts told by the previous physician. Documents such as the ADR (Accidental Death Report), Panchnama, and statement of relatives should also be taken into consideration and noted in the final report so that there is no ambiguity.
Dr. of AIIMS Sudhir Gupta has said that Sushant’s autopsy report found discrepancies. It is also in the news that the time of death was not mentioned in the report. What does this essentially mean?
Dr. about contradictions. It is difficult for me to speak on Sudhir’s comment, as he has not listed those, although I am sure he has considered all the documents. For the time being, I can show you copies of the postmortem report. There is no specific column for the time after death. But it tells the medical officer’s deduction of the time after death from stomach contents. Since death is derived through various factors such as riget mortis, postmortem liftability, cold, or body heat, decomposition changes, if any. The contents of the stomach are also mentioned in the post mortem report. The circumstantial evidence provided by the police is taken into account before estimating the time after death. If one claims that time has not been mentioned since death, it is like saying that I have maintained a book of accounts, mentioned expenses, but have not completed it in the end. But from individual entries, I can deduct it, at any time.
After Sushant’s death, some pictures were leaked and aired. What should be seen as circumstantial evidence?
One needs to make sure that these are authentic photos before commenting, not marfed. I would suggest that the experts, before commenting, see that the investigating officer certifies those who will put in his signature and forward it. Only those can be considered authentic and allowed in court as evidence.
Some reports questioned the need to conduct Sushant’s autopsy at night. In this type of situation, how long will it take for doctors to inspect their body, and is there a provision for autopsy at night?
In Mumbai, the Maharashtra government has a specific circular stating that the post-mortem should be done in 24 hours, except in cases of negligence and murder / murder cases where the police officer has mentioned it in the papers.
Several reports showed her body to be dr. RN Cooper has questioned the need to be taken to the Municipal General Hospital when another ambulance from a hospital close to his residence was present. What are the parameters of choosing a hospital?
there is no alternative. As per government orders, more than 90 police stations in the city are divided – police stations are connected to post mortem centers, and we have 10 of them: St. George, GT, JJ Hospital, Nair, KEM, Sion, Rajwadi, Cooper Hospital, Siddharth Hospital and Bhagwati. For example, five police stations are connected to Nair Hospital and bodies from their jurisdiction will be brought here.
Are you suggesting that taking Sushant’s body to Cooper Hospital was essentially a procedural decision?
Yes. The Bandra Police Station has assigned Cooper Hospital to him.
Leaked pictures of Sushant’s body created a furore on social media. His body has been questioned by people with ligature marks and other signs, some of which are doctors and criminal lawyers. By looking at a picture and a ligature mark on one’s neck, you can clearly tell how the death occurred?
As I said, no one should come without a certified photograph. From a photo, no one can say anything. Photo has to be taken from all sides. People need to understand that there is a difference between a forensic medicine specialist (medical graduate) who has done an autopsy and a forensic scientist (non-medical person) who has never done an autopsy, but the analysis of documents Have done, analyzed viscera and studied biological evidence. Criminal lawyers have never performed an autopsy – it is only a medical doctor, a forensic expert with experience in autopsy, who may consider postmortem and injuries.
How many medical professionals are usually required for post mortem and what is their ideal qualification? And when you make a team of doctors for autopsy, are they called by appointment or are they selected from the hospital?
The rules are that any registered physician, meaning anyone with MBBS qualification, can perform an autopsy. But ideally, a forensic medicine specialist, or many times a pathologist is best suited to conduct autopsis. A forensic medicine specialist is ideal in cases that show violence. If there is any negligence or disease, it is ideal to bring in a pathologist. If there are also medical colleges running postgraduate courses in the hospital, in addition to a team of specialists, postgraduate trainees can also be doctors. Every medical college has a forensic medicine department. For routine purposes, there is a duty list and duties are assigned to each doctor. Even a doctor can perform an autopsy. But, when you need help, the department head can ask other doctors for assistance. Everyone present for the autopsy will sign the report.
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