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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Bhubaneswar: Neither the dead bodies make him puke, nor the undead scare him at night. Ramachandra Baidung, a 62 year-old Class-4 employee of Capital Hospital in Bhubaneswar has made friends with the lifeless bodies his entire life.

Meet the ‘Autopsy Man’ of Odisha whose day starts and ends with the dead. While from a personal point of view his profession might seem awkward but it is no-brainer that he is a hero who carries out an act akin to necessary evil having hugely social importance.

His journey has seen him spend 20 years consistently helping the doctors in the Forensic Medicine and Toxicology (FMT) Department perform autopsy procedures on dead bodies in the hospital.

But all was not like this for him in the beginning. In fact, Ramachandra says that sight of dead bodies scared the hell out of him like most people.

When he started from the scratch, It took him quite a few days to adjust to the working conditions. Switching off completely when he reached home after work was his ‘Mantra’ to keep the fear and nightmares at bay and his psyche in equilibrium while sleeping, says Ramachandra.

Over the years of this social service, he says that the most endearing achievement for him is not in the number of bodies he dissected but when people look at him with awe because everyone accepts that his service at the Capital Hospital is arguably the most challenging as far as the Class-3 & 4 employees are concerned.

On top of that, his two-decades-long experience has taught him enough expertise with which he not only preps the body for dissection but powers him enough to make cavities in the exact areas as per the doctors requirement. He knows the nitty-gritty of the cases as soon as they arrive and doctors do not need to tell him the specifications for examination.

Dr Laxmikant Behera, the HoD of FMT Department in Capital Hospital is all praises for Baidung. “After receiving the body from police we conduct a thorough examination and take it to the mortuary where four cavities are opened in the body. From cutting to dissecting, Baidung helps me through the entire procedure,” he said.

Terming Baidung as indispensable for the department, Behera further said, “We cannot even think about performing our duties without the help of this man."

As per his own admission, Ramchandra has performed post mortems on a staggering 20,000 bodies since his joining at the Hospital way back in the year 2000.

“I have never faced problem while working here. There have been many doctors and department heads I worked with, but I never faced any problem with anybody,” said Baidung.

Speaking about his nature of work, Baidung said, “I dissect the body and picks out the organ as per the doctor’s instructions. Then the doctor writes the report after a thorough examination of the body.”

As far as his conjugal life goes, he admits that his family was not the most supportive of his job profile. At times, his son also faced embarrassment before his friends over Baidung’s job.
But his value at the hospital could be measured by the fact that, despite his retirement from active job two years back, he is still called upon by the hospital to render his services in absence of a suitable replacement.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)

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