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BHB forced to use refrigerated containers as morgue overwhelmed

King Edward Memorial Hospital (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Recent deaths from Covid-19 have overwhelmed the hospital’s morgue, requiring refrigerated overflow containers to be brought in.

R Scott Pearman, the deputy chief executive officer for Bermuda Hospitals Board, said there was a heightened need for co-operation to manage large numbers of deceased.

He added: “The increase in deaths from the Covid-19 pandemic is a tragic situation for many families, first and foremost, and we feel deeply for the grief and pain so many are feeling in our community right now.

“The high numbers are also putting pressure on the individuals and organisations who would normally support the process from death to burial or cremation, and this includes BHB.

“Our concern is having enough space for all the deceased given the high numbers of deaths we are experiencing. We have already exceeded our regular morgue capacity and are using refrigerated overflow containers.”

He said the hospital’s “respectful goal” was to preserve the dignity and safety of those who had died.

But Mr Pearman warned that some of the deceased were being left with KEMH “longer than necessary” and putting pressure on space.

“Reducing the number of deceased individuals held by BHB will be greatly helped by families working with their chosen funeral director so their loved ones can be picked up from KEMH and be buried or cremated with as little delay as possible.

“Families are going through so much when someone dies and they may not always know what has to take place for their loved one to be released from KEMH.”

In partnership with the Government and funeral directors, BHB has drawn up an information sheet to help families, also addressing financial implications and other decisions that need to be made.