Bodies back on ice at public hospital morgue

-after refrigeration glitch

A strong stench filled the air outside the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH) morgue yesterday after its refrigerator developed mec-hanical problems over the weekend.

According to reports, the problem developed on Saturday when parts of the refrigeration/storage section of the morgue broke down. It was reported that as a result the remains of 23 persons had to be transferred to private funeral homes in the city but the hospital said the claim was only a rumour.

Contacted yesterday, GPH spokesperson Alero Proctor told Stabroek News that the facility had experienced a minor problem but the situation was remedied.

She could not say if bodies were removed from the facility while a staff member at the morgue offered no comment when approached by this newspaper.

In a statement issued later yesterday, the GPH stated that over the weekend it had been observed that the motor of the mortuary’s refrigerator was working but no cooling was taking place. Efforts to contact a specialist over the weekend were unsuccessful. A technician was subsequently contacted and the problem was rectified yesterday. “All bodies sent to respective funeral homes were so done as per normal, relatives came and the bodies were released for burial,” it said, adding that it regretted any inconvenience anyone may have faced as a result of the problem.

Meanwhile, an official at Sandy’s Funeral Home said several bodies were taken to the entity yesterday from the GPH but he could not say if it was as a result of a problem at the hospital morgue.

According to him, the funeral home would normally receive a high number of bodies on Mondays, after post-mortem examinations are completed at the public medical institution.

A man who gave his name as Abdul told this newspaper at the GPH yesterday that the remains of his mother, who died of natural causes three days ago, was stored at the facility and according to him, he visited the morgue early yesterday morning as the family made preparations to bury her yesterday.

He said the staff at the morgue told him that the facility’s storage area was not functioning properly.
He admitted that he became angry when he observed the decomposed state of his mother’s remains. He said the matter compounded his mourning and he was contemplating moving his mother’s body to a private funeral home.

Another individual who sat outside the morgue said hospital staff informed him that the cold storage area within the morgue was malfunctioning since Saturday and the remains of several persons, including that of his relative, had to be removed from the facility as they were decomposing.

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