Bodies left to rot due to non-functioning Berbice morgues


Non-functioning morgues at the New Amsterdam and Skeldon Hospitals in the county of Berbice has caused bodies to rot, leaving relatives of the dead furious.

The New Amsterdam morgue has since been shut down.

“We had to do a quick funeral and all the relatives to come to see him couldn’t because we couldn’t open the casket,” said Nitram Narine, who took the body of his son-in-law to the Skeldon morgue on December 30 last.

He explained that for six days, while the body was stored at the morgue, he was forced to buy $5000 in ice daily to place on the body.

The problem has since been resolved at the Skeldon Hospital.

Over at New Amsterdam, the problem was ongoing for weeks.

Jevaughn Stephens, Director of Regional and Health Services for the Berbice region, confirmed that because of low voltage, the freezers at the morgue have not been functioning.

He said there are plans to overhaul the facility and find an alternative solution at the soonest.

Seepaul Ramlocahan, the brother of Rabindranauth Ramnarace 47, told the News Room he will be seeking legal action against the Hospital.

Ramlochan of No. 2 Village said his brother died on December 31 at the New Amsterdam Hospital after suffering a seizure. The body was subsequently transported to the morgue where it remained for close to two weeks in a non-functioning freezer.

He explained he was not informed of his brother’s demise until a few days later and when he visited the morgue on January 11th, he was shocked to find the body in a decomposed state.

Efforts were made to get permission to transfer the remains to a private facility but were unsuccessful.

Ramlochand said he was told by an official at the hospital that an autopsy was needed.

While at the facility, the man claims there were about seven other bodies including that of a baby that was “spoil and melted.”

He said the body of his brother was finally handed over to the family on January 16, although a post mortem was not conducted.

Ramnarace was eventually laid to rest on January 17.

The brother said the family was saddened that they could not perform a proper funeral due to the state of decomposition of the body.

Meanwhile, Chairman Regional Health Committee Region 6 Zamal Hussain said the situation is a call for concern.

He told the News Room the situation is an added cost for families who are already financially crippled.

“The residents are disappointed with the management of the health sector in Berbice.

“…with this managerial structure in place, we are not getting the results for services for the people of Region 6”.

The Director of Regional Health Services, quoted earlier, said that that of recent the mortuary at New Amsterdam was working “on and off.”

There were temporary fixes, Stephen said, but the situation was prolonged.

As a result, he said a decision was made two days ago to completely shut down the facility and to carry out general repairs, which commenced today.

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