The refrigerated trucks that hospitals use to store the ever-increasing number of city corpses are dark, dirty and packed with bodies stacked atop one another, according to funeral home workers and grieving families.
As the coronavirus death toll overwhelms morgues and funeral homes, some of the storage trucks hospitals use to handle the grim backlog are so disorganized, workers must wrestle bodies over one another to get them out.
“They’re a nightmare,” said City Councilman Robert Holden. “It’s disrespectful to the dead.”
Some of the trucks are “not lit, they’re not sanitary. These are morticians that are saying this,” he added.
Tragically, the workers staffing the trucks are working with what they’ve got, said funeral home director William Roberts, of Morton Funeral Home/Ridgewood Chapel.
“There is no sense of order or organization. It’s like a battle zone,” Roberts said.
In some cases, funeral home staff must wait for truck workers to retrieve bodies, which “are dragged on the floor,” he said.
“They grab them from the end of the pouch and drag them. Sometimes they’re on shelves, one high, two high, three high. Sometimes there are no shelves and they’re placed along the wall. Sometimes they put them one on top of the other, or two on top.”
“In 35 years of doing this I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve been through the AIDS epidemic, 9/11, Ebola, SARS, H1N1,” he added.
“This is somebody’s mother, somebody’s relative that you’re dragging. Would you want your mother to be dragged over other bodies?”
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