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Health Minister Issues Plea To Families As Morgue Is Too Full

Minister of Health Renward Wells.

Minister of Health Renward Wells.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Tribune Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

HEALTH officials are urging members of the public to make arrangements for the remains of loved ones to be removed from Princess Margaret Hospital’s morgue where the facility continues to be stretched to capacity.

According to Health Minister Renward Wells yesterday, some people are using the morgue as a storage facility for uncollected remains. He said this practice cannot continue.

In cases where funeral homes are refusing to collect remains, Mr Wells said storage fees will be applied.

Currently, the morgue only has capacity for 55 bodies, but it now holds four times that number, Public Hospitals Authority managing director, Katherine Weech said.

“Some persons are using the morgue at PMH as a storage facility for their deceased loved ones,” Mr Wells said at a Ministry of Health press conference. “We understand that death and losing a loved one is an emotional and sensitive time. However, the morgue at the Princess Margaret Hospital continues to be stretched to capacity as a result of the delayed collection of loved ones who have passed.

“Given the necessary restrictions due to COVID-19 that had to be put in place as it pertains to funerals, some members of the public are opting to wait until restrictions have been lessened to collect the bodies of their loved ones.”

COVID-19 guidelines have placed limits on the number of people who can attend funerals.

“We encourage members of the public to arrange with a mortuary company to secure and retrieve their loved ones,” he added. “We are also again urging the local mortuary companies to collect the bodies that persons have already paid them to transport to their funeral home of choice. The failure of these companies to comply will have to unfortunately result in the existing legal storage fees being applied.”

For her part, Ms Weech said this is also an issue in Grand Bahama and made an appeal to members of the public to work with officials to have the situation rectified.

She said: “I can say to you that today we are over capacity by about four times. We have a capacity in our main hospital for 55 bodies, but to date I think we’re running four times that amount.

“I should also mention that at the Grand Bahama Health Services likewise we have a capacity of about 25 and at times our numbers can go up two to three times that amount.

“Since the start of COVID-19 we instituted a policy to ensure that patients dying from COVID were separated from the main population and those bodies were accommodated in the external coolers of the hospital.

“To date we recognise that over time the morgue, as indicated by the minister, has been used by the general public as a storage facility until such time as bodies are ready for burial. To date and with COVID-19 we want to continue to impress upon the general public to ensure that they work with us to ensure that those bodies are moved in a timely manner thus allowing us the opportunity to be able to properly manage those bodies that we have to hold requiring any examinations but certainly to ensure that we create environments where we can safely take care of the remains of loved ones.”

She said the facilities are open Monday through Friday and the medical records department facilitates all discharge of bodies from the hospital.

Comments

TalRussell 2 weeks ago

Whats with another crown minister's personality shines in laying blame at the feet family members for the hospital morgues stacking of loved ones. A nod of Once for Yeah, Twice for No?

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Sickened 1 week, 6 days ago

These family members are disgusting. Leaving their loved ones in storage until... what? They find money? They come back to life? Bahamians are a strange people. Very African in their ignorance and very Black American in their entitlement beliefs.

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stillwaters 2 weeks ago

They tried to get Bahamians to come for their live relatives, known as boarders, from the hospital wards and nobody came.......you think they are coming for dead relatives?

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bogart 2 weeks ago

....er...didn't the Officials know of the nation's worst off economic hardship of majority people in near history...???.....of largest numbers of Bahamians workforce unemployed ???....cant pay rent....light bill.....of the largest ever nation people gettin million dollars weekly food help from same same govt and charities helps like some 110,000 people get food ????

Bey in dis the worsest, tings dead dead bad, don't dese salaried govt medical people living in lala land that this of all time people worse ever struggling..!!!..receiving depending on help for food...depending on NIB benefits...cant pay rent ..depending on family...etc...you see wha I sayin...dont govt people here know people will obviously need financial helps to bury their loved deceased ones !!!! muddoes !!!

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Clamshell 1 week, 6 days ago

Mr. Bogart, it really is unseemly for you to write in fake-minstrel style. Really ... leave that drivel for TalRussell. You’re better than that.

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bogart 1 week, 6 days ago

...Thanks. Oftentimes we all get upset. On seeing the Hospital officials repeatedly publictly broadcast to all on this matter, I firmly believe that this situation of loved ones could have been more tactful and discreet given the sacredness situation for Religious burial of one's loved family. The officials have no excuses not knowing of the dire economic hardships the people are going through. A likely solution would for some Official to jump in a red plate vehicle and visit relatives of their passed ones to arrange funerals. More dignity and tactfulness required to treat our elders, citizens, others of this nation who sadly passed away.

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joeblow 2 weeks ago

There should be a standing order that bodies left more than 30 days will be cremated with the bill sent to the next of kin! Can't these guys solve any problems?

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Sickened 1 week, 6 days ago

Exactly! It should almost be mandatory for all bodies to be cremated. Burying is disgusting and a waste of space. It's not like people actually ever go to the grave site after the funeral.

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