Healthcare
The body was left in the mortuary overnight in a damaged freezer, through which the rat entered and bit the man’s nose.

In a disturbing incident at Kamaraj Government Hospital in Chidambaram, a rat bit off the nose of a dead body which was being kept in a damaged freezer at the hospital's mortuary. It was the second incident in recent months that highlighted poor conditions in government healthcare.

The deceased, identified as 22-year-old Vaitheeswaran who was a native of Thandeshwaranallur village near Chidambaram, had killed himself on Tuesday. His body was taken to the government hospital for the post-mortem, and the body was left overnight in the mortuary. In the morning, friends of the deceased saw his body and were shocked to find that his nose had been bitten off.

When TNM first spoke to hospital officials, they denied the incident had occurred. But on further probing, they revealed some details regarding the mortuary and the conditions in which the body was stored. “There was an issue with the freezer in which the body was kept, there was some small hole through which the rat has gone inside,” said Dr Tamilarasan, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Chidambaram Government Hospital. “It was a quality issue and we have spoken to the contractors of the freezer to get them to fix the issue so that nothing like this happens again.”

However, when asked why the hospital premises was poorly maintained, he said, “This is a rural area, and it’s a big space, there’s only so much that can be done to maintain this,” added the CMO.

In a similarly disturbing incident which took place at Coimbatore Government Hospital in November, a video shows a woman exposed and crumpled on the floor of the hospital, while a cat seems to lick a wound on her leg. Videos and images of the incident were circulated by the patients and attenders nearby, though the hospital claimed that the images didn’t show the full story and denied the allegations.