Showing posts with label Morgue. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Morgue. Show all posts

March 1, 2019

Breaking News}} FEMA Denies PR Help To Help Process The Accumulation of Bodies



Image result for bodies accumulation in Puerto Rico

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Bodies piling up in Puerto Rico's morgue
    
Bodies piling up in Puerto Rico's morgueBodies piling up in Puerto Rico's morgue
BY CAMILO MONTOYA-GALVEZ, DAVID BEGNAUD

Washington — Although the Federal Emergency Management Agency denied Puerto Rico's request to dispatch forensic units to Puerto Rico to help process a mounting backlog of bodies, the island's government has received a much-need reprieve. The fiscal board which controls spending in the U.S. territory will allow Gov. Ricardo Rosselló to use $1.5 million in funding to curtail the backlog in the island's morgue. 

The current backlog of bodies at the Forensic Sciences Institute, which is the island's version of a medical examiner in the mainland, is part of a systemic issue that has been plaguing the U.S. territory for years because of mismanagement, underfunding and understaffing. The death toll and chaos of hurricanes Maria and Irma exacerbated the situation, which has forced many families to wait weeks before receiving the bodies of their loved ones.   

Rosselló told CBS News the seven-member fiscal oversight board — created by the 2016 Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act, known as PROMESA — accepted the $1.5 million disbursements to fund the human resources department of the morgue in San Juan. Rosselló said the morgue could only have one pathologist on duty to process bodies from the entire island on some occasions. 

"The Board considered the Forensics Institute's requests for budgetary assistance a top priority, and has worked for months with the Institute and other government officials to identify the appropriate offsets in spending to allocate the requested resources," a spokesperson for the board wrote in a statement to CBS News. "We are with the people of Puerto Rico and we will continue to work with the Institute to support this essential function of government."

Transcript: CBS News interviews Ricardo Rosselló, Puerto Rico's governor
Wife desperately attempts to claim the husband's body amid backlog at Puerto Rico's morgue
Rosselló had said that the backlog couldn't be stabilized without immediate assistance from the federal government, particularly the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and FEMA. But in a letter obtained by CBS News dated Feb. 20, FEMA denied the Puerto Rican government's request to deploy a second Disaster Mortuary Operations Response Team (DMORT), citing the lack of an "immediate disaster-related threat." 

In the letter, signed by FEMA official Michael Byrne, the agency noted that a DMORT deployment in the summer of 2018 had helped Puerto Rico's morgue reduce a backlog of 240 bodies by performing 188 autopsies. Byrne said FEMA's team conducted an assessment of the backlog in the island's morgue and provided the Puerto Rican government a list of recommendations to address "underlying issues"— including an insufficient number forensic pathologists, a lack of adequate equipment and the need to implement "new processes." 

But the FEMA official said these issues could be not be "attributed" to the natural disasters that struck the island, which triggered the first DMORT deployment.
"These and the other courses of action ... address systemic problems resulting from issues and shortcomings that pre-date the disasters and/or cannot be attributed to the effects of the disasters," Byrne said, presumably referring to hurricanes María and Irma. 
First published on February 28, 2019 / 10:12 AM


September 17, 2018

PR Governor: We Need to Solve The Century Old Problem of Colonialism





                                                                 
 Last time Puerto Ricans Tried Independence, the dead ones are all Puerto Ricans. Wether it was the  wrong way or not for history to judge but when you take away people's sence of belonging and independence they will try to break through even if they deon't have the weapons and manpower but they have death and death sometimes can speak volumes and can also win wars 🦊Adam
(CNN)
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló argued Saturday that residents of the US territory are treated like "second-class citizens" and said "we need to solve the century-old problem of colonialism in Puerto Rico."  
In addition to calling for more resources to help rebuild after Hurricane Maria, the governor told CNN's S.E. Cupp, "there's another thing we need: We need to solve the century-old problem of colonialism in Puerto Rico. The truth of the matter is ... we are treated as second-class citizens." 
During an interview on "S.E. Cupp Unfiltered," Rosselló, a member of the New Progressive Party, which seeks Puerto Rico statehood, said that all US lawmakers should be able to answer the question, "Do you support the notion that the United States, being the standard-bearer of democracy, should have more than 3 million of its citizens disenfranchised from voting or having representation?"
As a US territory, Puerto Rico does not have statehood status, although its residents are American citizens. As residents of a territory rather than a state, Puerto Ricans can't vote for president in the US general election. The territory has a nonvoting delegate in Congress, called a resident commissioner.
    Rosselló defended the accuracy of the death toll of nearly 3,000 residents that was associated with Hurricane Maria by researchers and adopted by the Puerto Rico government as the official death count, but which President Donald Trump has falsely claimed is not accurate. 
    "I reject the notion that this is somehow a conspiracy or that it is not true. It is the most scientifically accurate estimate that we have from what happened here in Puerto Rico," the governor said. 

    December 23, 2014

    Unclaimed Dead Awaits a long Final Send Off at LA County Cemetery



                                                                                        

    Clear shipping tape covers the oversized ledger, holding together the corners. Its 1,000 pages threaten to overwhelm the three large flat-head screws that clamp the spine. Inside, names and dates fill row after row in near-perfect script.

    This is the book of the unclaimed dead.

    ------------
    FOR THE RECORD:
    Unclaimed dead: In the Nov. 9 Section A, an article about L.A. County's unclaimed dead said that the Department of Public Health oversees the Department of Decedent Affairs. The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services oversees the Department of Decedent Affairs. — 
    ——————


    They die in hospitals in Torrance, in nursing homes in Long Beach, on the street in Los Angeles.

    About six bodies arrive each day at L.A. County's cemetery in Boyle Heights. There, Albert Gaskin gives each body a round metal tag with a cremation number.

    As he has done for more than three decades, Gaskin records the tag's number and the dates of the cremation and the cremation permit in the ledger. The name comes next. Then date of birth. And sex. Race. Date of death.
         
    36164.                                         

    JULY 13, 2011.

    JULY 9, 2011.

    WHEELOCK, JOHN R.

    11-19-46.

    M.

    CAUC.

    6-9-2011.



    On a second page, there's a location of death or coroner case number. And there's a space for a signature — that means the body has been claimed.

    On Wheelock's entry, and most of the others, the space is empty.

    Wheelock is on Page 289 of the book, which is kept in a safe in a chapel-like room at the county crematory with other books listing the unclaimed dead buried at the cemetery. The smallest book, a "Register of Burials," dates from Jan. 1, 1896, to April 30, 1902. Recent books contain about a decade’s worth of names.

     

    The first cremation in the latest book was recorded Oct. 29, 2005. Those cremated today are added near the back of the ledger. Two hundred sixty-one pages in, the names of those cremated in 2011 begin.

    Ira Johnson, 77. Robert Lyman, 64. Luther McKenney, 74. Farther down the page are newborn twins Cassidy and Cameron Stansbary, who did not make it through their first day.

    Until The Times digitized the handwritten record of the unclaimed dead of 2011 to create a searchable database, only those people whose cases were handled by the coroner — about a third — could be found online.

    Officials from the Department of Public Health, which oversees the morgue and the Department of Decedent Affairs, said they are working to digitize many of their records.

    Los Angeles County's unclaimed remains of 2011
    Los Angeles County's unclaimed remains of 2011
    But that won't happen before December, when the ashes of more than 1,400 people cremated in 2011 will be buried in a mass grave in the Boyle Heights cemetery. It's a lonely annual ritual attended mostly by local media and county employees.

    For the unclaimed dead of 2011, time is running out.
                                   

    ::

    Wheelock, who grew up in Southern California and graduated from San Bernardino Valley College with a degree in electronics, loved trains.

    In the 1990s, he moved to Oregon and became a volunteer with Train Mountain in Chiloquin. The mountain stretches over 2,000 acres of pine forest with more than 36 miles of track, about 7 1/2 inches wide. It is one of the largest hobbyist railroads in the world.

    Wheelock even owned a small, gas-powered locomotive — "big enough that you can actually ride on," a fellow enthusiast said.

    He was on the trip of his lifetime when he died at 10:30 a.m. on June 9, 2011.

    He started at his home in Oregon and headed north to Seattle. From there he traveled east to Chicago. Then south to New Orleans. And west to Los Angeles.
                              
                                                                               
      

    When he found the right train and car at Union Station, he sat down. And then he grabbed his chest. Passengers in the train tried CPR. So did paramedics. But Wheelock died.

    "It came at a horrible time," said his son Aaron Wheelock, who couldn't afford to come get his father's ashes. The county wouldn't ship them to his home in Idaho, he said.

    If relatives can be found, they are notified by the morgue or the coroner that their loved one's body is available for pickup by a mortuary. If a family can't afford the mortuary fees, the county handles cremation.

    The cost is typically $352 for a case handled by the coroner and $466 for others. Although that must be paid before the ashes can be taken, in some cases a family can ask a county supervisor to waive the fee.

    Some families simply don't want to pick up relatives, said Joyce Kato, an investigator at the Los Angeles County coroner's office.

    I think I would want to be cremated the next day. 
    I just don’t want to be laying around with 
    people moaning and worrying.
    - Albert Gaskin, who has worked at the county crematory since the late 1970s
    "We see that more and more every year," she said. "They don't even feel that they're obligated to make arrangements for a long-lost sibling."

    In some cases, Kato said, family members are just interested in the death certificate, which gives them access to property, bank accounts and life insurance.

    For others, no relatives can be found.

    By late last month, of the 1,868 dead who ended up at the crematory in 2011, only 440 have been claimed.

    ::

    Gaskin helps take care of the cremations, the ashes and the book of the unclaimed dead.

    He starts as early as 4 some mornings. He picks up bodies from hospitals and takes them to the crematory on the hill in Boyle Heights.


    Gaskin has been at the crematory since the late 1970s. He jokes that he's 19. But really he doesn't want to say how old he is. He's past retirement age, but stays on because he enjoys the job and he feels like he's taking care of people. In some cases, he's the last one to care for the person before he or she is put into the ground.

    "Maybe next year," he said about retirement. (He chuckled because he says that every year.)

    It doesn't feel like work, he said. "I feel I'm doing a service and I enjoy it."

    He'll probably opt for cremation after he dies, he said.

    "I think I would want to be cremated the next day," he said. "I just don't want to be laying around with people moaning and worrying."

    And he'd like to be cremated by the county.

    "It's like if you go to a doctor, you'd want to go to a very good doctor because you know he's going to take care of you," he said.

    But he added that he'd pay for the cremation and his son would claim his ashes.

    In some pages of the book, the writing changes. Gaskin goes on vacation. Another worker records the names, adding flourishes on top of the C's.

    Cornelius, David. Born Nov. 4, 1940. Died Oct. 2, 2011.

    ::                                                                   

    The ashes to be buried this year belong to the old and the young. About two-thirds are men. More than half are white.


    One hundred thirty-seven are babies. Some were stillborn; others lived for a short time. Instead of the brown plastic boxes that hold adults' remains, babies' ashes are stored in small paper bags, neatly folded like wallets and placed in metal drawers.

    35335.

    Cremation: FEB 16, 2011.

    Permit: FEB 9, 2011.

    GRANT, JACQUELINE.

    B/G (baby girl).

    Born: 2-6-2011.

    Sex: F.

    Race: A.A.

    Died: 2-7-2011.

    Related story: L.A. County's unclaimed dead: How we reported the story
    Related story: L.A. County's unclaimed dead: How we reported the story
    All the names of the unclaimed dead will eventually be online, said Andrew Veis, assistant press deputy for County Supervisor Don Knabe.

    Knabe makes a point to attend the burial ceremony each December.

    "The whole issue here," he said, "is at least these folks are getting a respectful burial."

    ::                                                                      

    When coroners are unable to find relatives they sometimes submit their request to unclaimedpersons.org, an online group of about 600 volunteers who scour public records for possible family.

    Megan Smolenyak, an independent genealogist based in Haddonfield, N.J., founded the group, which draws up a report of likely relatives and submits that to the coroner or medical examiner who asked for help.

    Smolenyak called unclaimed people a "quiet epidemic."

    "A lot of times you get to the heart of it and it's some silly little feud," she said. "You don't have to mend bridges. Just keep in touch."

    When a body ends up at the crematory, Gaskin places a wide board about 5 feet long under it, then puts it onto a metal gurney.

    He wheels it into the furnace room. The place is stale with dust. The room is noisy and hot from the furnaces. 

                                                                              

    Gaskin takes a long metal pole with a flat "T" top. He rests the top of the pole against the body's shoulder and together with another man slides the body into the brick furnace. And the furnace's door slides down.

    The metal tag with the cremation number waits on the door as the body burns.

    Gaskin turns around and heads out of the room to retrieve another body. There is always another body.

    jon.schleuss@latimes.com

    Twitter: @gaufre

    Times staff writer Maloy Moore contributed to this report.

    Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
    More information
    To claim the ashes of an unclaimed person, call the L.A. County Morgue at (323) 409-7161. The ceremony honoring the unclaimed dead will be at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 10 at the Los Angeles County Cemetery, 3301 E. 1st St., Boyle Heights.

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