THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After receiving multiple requests from MBBS students in private medical colleges in Kerala, the state government has decided to allow these students to study autopsies (postmortems) in government medical colleges. Health Minister Veena George recently issued a directive in this regard. The guidelines for teaching autopsy to private college students will be prepared by the Director of Medical Education (DME).
It’s noteworthy that the MBBS course includes a forensics paper, which mandates students to participate in and document a minimum of 15 postmortem examinations, each involving various causes of death and autopsy techniques. However, MBBS students in Kerala’s private medical colleges didn’t have the opportunity to do so, as postmortems are not conducted in private medical colleges in Kerala. This issue has been a long-standing concern for Kerala students.
In response to this situation, the Director of Medical Education (DME) issued a new directive to allow private medical students to attend government medical colleges. Currently, MBBS students in private medical colleges in Kerala depend on other states to study autopsy. In many such institutions, Kerala medical students have to apply and wait for formal permissions. Unfortunately, doctors in other states don’t permit Kerala MBBS students to observe autopsies; instead, they observe the procedure conducted by other supporting staff. Consequently, several students who learn autopsy in such colleges later earn their degree, pass the state Public Service Commission (PSC) test, and join government hospitals, where their lack of knowledge often leads to problems. Additionally, these students face difficulties in obtaining job opportunities in other states.
In 2021, the Kerala High Court directed the state government to provide all necessary infrastructure, including medical and paramedical staff, for conducting post-mortem examinations. Based on this directive, the Kerala government allowed students to learn autopsy at 138 taluk, district, and general hospitals under the Directorate of Health Services (DHS). However, this initiative has not been effective due to the shortage of doctors in the forensic-cadre of these government hospitals. Therefore, MBBS students in Kerala remain dissatisfied with the new directive. MBBS students from private medical colleges are still raising questions about the feasibility of the new directive’s implementation.