Hospital blames ostentatious funerals, threatens mass burial
BY NOSA AKENZUA
The Federal Medical Centre ( FMC) Asaba on Wednesday alerted the public that the hospital’s morgue was over flowing with dead bodies whose owners had abandoned for upwards of two years.
The management of the hospital through its Chief Medical Director, Dr Victor Osiatohme, told journalists that the public notices in major newspapers and media platforms claim that some of the deceased have been in the mortuary for two to three years as they may be subjected to a mass burial if the abandonment continues.
This situation, investigation revealed, is not novel, as it remains the bane of many mortuaries across the country; where hundreds of bodies remain in morgues for years without anyone stepping forward to claim them. Regularly, some fresh bodies are dumped by relatives or security personnel who bring in accident victims or armed attack victims putting more strain on these facilities.
Speaking to Daily Times’ correspondent, Mr. Shittim Emmanuel, a pathologist and mortician at the National Hospital, Abuja, denounced the practice of abandoning bodies in morgues as it puts pressure on the mortuary system.
“We usually embalm to preserve the body. Each body requires about N25,000 for embalming. The cost of body preservation is high and could cost as much as N3000 per day in some facilities. An autopsy is typically performed before beginning any of these procedures to determine the cause of death, especially when it is uncertain. Normally, there is no set time frame during which bodies can stay in the morgue, but as more arrive, some must be retrieved and when that doesn’t happen, a problem arises.”
Investigations revealed that several churches like the Anglican, Catholic and the other religious bodies have stepped in to curb corpse abandonment and undue delay of burials, among members, by contributing money to aid in funding burials, campaigning for modest and pocket-friendly funerals, enacting sanctions for the bereaved who unnecessarily prolong funeral rites, as well as mediating in family squabbles and exorbitant demands by kinsmen. They have helped in dissuading the menace among the Christian community but more must be done in this direction.