While speaking to Dental Tribune Pakistan, Dr. Humayun said the Government has directed him to investigate the flight crash of PK-8303. He informed that he has been heading the team of NDMA (National Disaster Management Authority) in which Dr. Suman and Dr. Falak are also included. The team has been working tirelessly in the identification of the deceased passengers of PIA flight crash.
Dr. Humayun expressed that in the past, he was part of Havelian flight crash incident in which Late Junaid Jamshed lost his life. During that time of the investigation, he was the only trained forensic odontologist. “At that time, I was alone, but today when I came to Karachi, I have two new professionals working with me in the team.”
Dr. Temoor hoped that in the future, more dental surgeons would opt for this field of career.
Dr. Humayun highlighted that dental records are highly significant in the process of identification. He further added, “According to Interpol guidelines, the process of identification always starts with fingerprints, then with dental ones and then further confirmed with DNA.”
Dr. Suman and Dr. Falak, who had their post-graduation done from the University of Dundee, UK also shared the importance of the field of Forensic Odontology. “We are identifying bodies through dental records and again, through this platform, we all request you to kindly maintain your dental records through yourself and professional dentist,” said Dr. Falak.
Dr. Suman added, “Forensic odontology is one the primary identifiers that even Interpol has guided. I request everybody to save records, to maintain records, and keep it up-to-date. As we all know that many people in Pakistan cannot afford DNA testing and fingerprints are not present on dead bodies every single time. Hence we should focus on something that is easily available that is dental (sic).”
Discussing the techniques required for the process of identification, Dr. Humayun told, “We are trying our best that we follow identification procedures as per international guidelines. The investigation is a laborious task. In order to conduct dental autopsy, we have to examine jaws, and then, of course, different disasters require different techniques. We match it with the previous dental records and even if we don’t have a dental model beforehand we still find a way out using X-rays etc. Sometimes people save their extracted teeth that can even assist us in identification.
Citing implants as the major identifier, Dr. Temoor said, “Everyone is getting an implant these days and implants are beautiful identifiers because of their specific placement. People definitely have data for them and also they have specific sizes and shapes.
They might even have specific registration numbers carved in them. Along with that medical implants are also great identifiers.”
Talking about the importance of dental records and maintenance of it, the team lead of NDMA said, “My number one suggestion is that if we are good practitioners or doctors and are keeping patient’s data, then we should strive for a National Data Dentistry. We are already working on forming National Data Dentistry so that in case of any disaster, we can speed up the process of identification of the deceased through the compiled data.”
“We have also worked on this in University of Health Sciences (UHS) and last year, during the International UHS conference, we inaugurated dental data compilation but we didn’t get that kind of backup response from the government. Under the Chairmanship of President of Pakistan, Dr. Arif Alvi, we started the Global Grand Dental Health and Education Alliance. The alliance was between National and International Universities. But due to Corona and lack of funds things didn’t go well as planned. But we will initiate Dental Elective Program and Forensic Dentistry will also be included,” Dr. Humayun told.
If you have any information regarding dental records of PIA flight crash passengers, kindly contact Dr. Humayun at 0313-4171447.