Friday, October 9, 2009

Morgue news

Morgues and mortuaries have been much in the news lately. Some are suffering from the economy, one is too lax with removals, and another has geared up for my favorite holiday at the end of the month...
Detroit, Michigan The Wayne Co. Morgue in midtown is piling up with bodies that have remained unclaimed by family members who can't afford to bury or cremate them and unburied by the county since their $21,000 budget ran out in June. The freezer's occupancy (67) has tripled since 2000. "We see people here [who] society was not taking care of before they died - and society is having difficulty taking care of them after they are dead," says the chief medical examiner.
Sydney, Australia Authorities have been forced to reopen the Westmead Hospital morgue because - as was predicted - the Glebe Dept. of Forensic Medicine does not have the capacity to store the current number of bodies awaiting identification, notification of next of kin, and autopsy. "This is further evidence the Rees Labor Government got it wrong when it closed the Westmead Morgue last year despite staff warning Glebe morgue could not cope." In another recent news report out of Sydney, funeral directors are faulting the Royal North Shore Hospital for its cavalier attitude toward security at its morgue. After a recent removal from the unlocked and unattended morgue, an unnamed mortician stated, "I was the ease with which we were able to do this. There are not locked doors, no checks, no security cameras. It is my opinion that a body could easily be stolen and I'm surprised that it hasn't happened already."
New Orleans, Louisiana A haunted house on Canal Street called "The Mortuary" opened for the season on Sept. 11th. It is housed in an 1887 mansion that was the home of McMahon & Sons Funeral Home from 1920 to the late 1990s, and is surrounded by the above-ground cemeteries that New Orleans is known for. "You couldn't ask for a better view," said owner Jeff Borne, as he gazed out the window at the vast expanse of tombs.
Pasadena, California The Eden Bar & Grill (formerly the Holly Street Bar & Grill) occupies what used to be the Turner & Stevens Mortuary. "Pasadenans like to startle their friends by revealing that the building was once a mortuary. If it's any comfort, the dining room was the garage." I have not eaten at a mortuary restaurant, but I did once attend a party at a former funeral home - the beer was kept on ice in the casket that still remained in the living room!
If interested, check out the series "Post Mortem" by German photographer Patrick Budenz.

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