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Thailand continues to struggle to contain the third wave of the pandemic with the Thai public health system put to its limit with hospital beds scarce and morgue space even more scarce.
Besides doctors, nurses, and hospital administrators who are being stretched thin, forensic technicians have also been pushed to their breaking point.
Technicians and forensic doctors are required to determine whether a patient died of Covid-19 or other causes.
At Thammasat University Hospital, Dr Tossanai Pipatchotitham, Head of the Forensic Division told the Thai Enquirer that the morgue at the hospital was filling up fast.
“In normal circumstances, in July of last year, statistically we would be receiving 60 cases, but this year we received 140 cases. As of July, we started to do Covid tests on incoming corpses before we perform any autopsy to prevent any spread of the virus”, said Dr Tossanai.
“We have to assume first that they have the virus.”
According to the doctor, 50 per cent of the bodies investigated by the lab tested positive for Covid-19.
“Because of the increase of bodies, more steps and precautions are needed which means we have to spend more time with each case,” he said. “This fight is getting more difficult and longer.”
“With the current situation we are facing, because we are spending more time with each case, corpses are spending more time in the morgue and more cases are coming in daily. On top of this in some cases, the relatives are unable to receive the deceased because they are in quarantine so the corpses stay with us longer.”
As a result, the hospital has had to acquire two extra refrigerated containers to hold the bodies.
“Right now, with the extra containers, we are starting to see them fill up at a fast rate, so we are going to need to speed things up on our end as well.”
Dr Tossanai told the Thai Enquirer that he foresees that by the end of August the number of bodies will double.
“We could see a situation in Thailand similar to what was happening in India.