Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs Dale Marshall has met with the relevant agencies to discuss delays in releasing bodies for burial, following concerns expressed by some family members recently.
One such case is the family of Kenneth Carl Holder, 64, a former jeweller, who passed away at home on January 3 after battling the effects of a stroke and hypertension. His body had been in storage since, but last Tuesday his brother Stanfield Holder went to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) to identify the body and he said he was shocked.
“Arising out of the meeting, we have identified the issues which caused a backlog of post mortems and have resolved to make adjustments to the internal processes of the respective agencies in order to expedite the release of bodies,” Marshall said in a statement released by Barbados Government Information Service today.
The statement follows.
“In recent days, I have heard growing concerns expressed about delays in releasing bodies for burial, as well as the conditions in which some bodies have been presented.
“This has caused much anguish and has been preventing some families from getting closure in grieving for those who have passed away.
“In seeking to address the issues, I have held discussions with representatives of the relevant agencies, namely the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the Coroner’s Office, the Barbados Police Service, the Forensic Sciences Centre, including the Government’s resident Forensic Pathologist, the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners and the funeral homes.
“Arising out of the meeting, we have identified the issues which caused a backlog of post mortems and have resolved to make adjustments to the internal processes of the respective agencies in order to expedite the release of bodies.
“In this regard, it was agreed that when a person passes away, as long as a doctor was willing to certify the death of that person as being of natural causes, then the funeral home selected by the family can collect the body.
“With respect to unnatural deaths, the Coroner’s Office will continue to conduct post mortems into these cases and follow the arrangements in place for collection and transport of those bodies.
“The Queen Elizabeth Hospital has also resolved to expedite hospital autopsies performed at that institution.
“I expect that these measures, when implemented, will go a long way to alleviating the backlog and allowing families to have timely closure on the passing of their loved ones.” (PR/KG)