"To us, he is just another person who donated his body for medical research. We will treat the body just like we treat the other bodies that come to us after donation. There will be no special preparation for him," said Pradip Mitra, director, SSKM hospital.
A student of SSKM Hospital seconded Mitra's view. "It's great that Basu has donated his body, but when we study the body, it does not matter who he. A body is just another body for us." said a student of SSKM.
The body will be handed over to the hospital authorities at Mohur Kunj where the former CM's procession will end. Mitra, along with Asish Dutta, Head of Anatomy department, will formally receive the body from the state government and Basu's family members.
In 2003 at the age of 88 years, Basu had donated his body and in the donation form he had described his occupation as 'a political worker'. Furthermore, he had said he was mentally stable and able to make the sensible decision of donating his eyes and body for the progress of medical research. He had signed the form on Friday, April 4, 2003.
Once the hospital receives the body, doctors will inject it with a solution of formaldehyde, glycerin and ethyl alcohol, following which it will be transferred to the cold chamber where it will be kept for the coming seven to eight days. A week later, the body will be given to students for dissection purpose.
"The bodies can be preserved for a longer period and in such cases they are occasionally immersed in tanks containing formaldehyde. Everything, however, depends on the condition of the body as it will be out for seven to eight hours after leaving Peace Haven. We have asked the state government to put his body on ice during the procession," said Ashish Dutta, Head of Anatomy department.
Interestingly, an official with the hospital said Basu's body will be preserved only if they find something unique about it. "Unless we discover something unique and different in his body, we do not think it will be preserved," said the official.
Mitra, however, added: "We have been receiving a lot of queries about the brain. The brain can be preserved for nearly 15 years, but we have not made any decisions in that regard," said Mitra.
Asserting that no public requests to see the body would be entertained after it is handed over to the hospital, Mitra said: "It is almost like a cremation and we have told the state department that we will not make any exception to the rule. We will receive police protection for the coming few days as we anticipate a lot of curiosity among people to see the body."
The SSKM director met ministers of the state government today to discuss the security issue. Once the body is handed over to the hospital authorities, the police would cordon off the area leading to the hospital from Mohur Kunj.
At Susrut Eye Foundation, meanwhile, Basu's eyes have joined the four pairs already with the foundation at the moment. "There is a huge demand for eyes, more than what we can supply. Even though he was 95 years old, it will not come in the way of transplantation. We already have 16 people on the list of those in need of eyes," said R C Paul, secretary, Susrut Eye Foundation.