Emotional composure key to proper identification – Pathologist

Pathologist, Professor Badu Akosah, says relatives of victims of the fire and flood disaster need to first keep their emotions in check if they are to correctly identify the dead.

“People must as much as possible dampen their emotions,” he told Joy News Friday.

Several families are living in great anxiety and are in search of missing loved ones feared dead after about 150 people perished in a flooding and fire disaster Wednesday night.

Many thronged the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Police hospital and the 37 Military hospital, all in Accra, with a churning mix of dread and hope of finding their relatives dead or alive.

For the victims of the fire disaster, it could prove difficult to identify the victims because some of them were burnt beyond instant recognition.

The pathologist is advising that relatives who are very close to the missing persons and can identify them by examining their toes, fingers and very “little, little marks,” should be those doing the identification.

But before they even start the exercise, Prof Akosah wants professionals in these hospitals to talk to the anxious family members.

They should get them to “relax as much as possible”, he explained, because they often “get so emotional they don’t even look at the body” Akosah stressed.

He regrets that the use of dental records in identifying the dead is not a popular option in Ghana. Otherwise, it is one of the “easiest ways” of identification.

A more thorough option, which is DNA identification, is “very expensive” in Ghana, he noted.

But it could be an option if the government is prepared to pay for it and if all other ways of identification fail, the pathologist suggested.

Story by Ghana|Myjoyonline|Edwin Appiah|[email protected]


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