The dead bodies of two COVID-19 victims were found abandoned in a hospital building a year after their deaths. Police said the bodies were decomposing inside the old morgue building.
The incident happened in a government hospital in the Indian city of Bengaluru. The deceased people were identified as 40-year-old Durga and 62-year-old Muniraju, reported The Indian Express.
Police said the bodies were kept in the morgue after their deaths in July 2020. At that time, the hospital was battling a surge in COVID-19 cases and subsequent deaths. So, the bodies were shifted to the morgue after their relatives refused to take them back.
The hospital built a new morgue soon after and the old one was abandoned. But, none of the staff members remembered the bodies that were lying abandoned inside the old building.
"On Saturday, when the housekeeping staff went to clean the old mortuary, they sensed a foul smell and later discovered these two bodies," a senior police official said.
The hospital staff said many were reluctant to collect the bodies of their relatives when the COVID-19 wave was at its peak in India.
"These two bodies remained in the freezer as the hospital staff got busy dealing with too many COVID-19 cases in successive months," the officer added.
However, a hospital employee told Bangalore Mirror that this was a clear case of negligence on the part of the hospital authorities.
"Back when there were a high number of cases, a decision was taken to move the bodies to a new morgue. But it was neglected later and forgotten. The hospital has shown negligence," he said.
The police are now searching for the family members of the deceased. The bodies have been transferred to another hospital for autopsy and will be cremated after receiving permission from the relatives.
"A case of unnatural death has been registered, and we will take further action once the departmental inquiry is done by the hospital authorities," police said.
A similar incident happened early this year when the decomposed body of a woman was found on a vacant floor of a hospital two weeks after she went missing. Sunitha, 41, was admitted to a hospital in the Indian city of Chennai on May 22. She went missing the next day. The body was later discovered by hospital staff after they noticed a foul smell emanating from the building's eighth floor.