Veil of secrecy screens funeral home outrages

Kate Benson and Mellisa Singer, 2/5/10

Funeral directors are furious at moves to deregulate their industry, saying a catalogue of horrifying abuses, such as a decaying corpse that was put on display at a funeral this year, will escalate if rogue operators are allowed to flourish. Hundreds of operators wrote to the NSW Health Department last week after reports that a teenager’s body, which his parents paid to have embalmed, was presented rotting and maggot-infested at his funeral. In other cases being investigated, a bloodied body was hosed down in a public car wash bay at Coffs Harbour, and human remains were discarded in the council’s regular garbage collection at Blacktown.

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– A body washed in a public car wash bay at Coffs Harbour, on the NSW mid-north coast.
– A teenage boy’s body brought to his funeral, decayed and infested with maggots, even though the family had paid to have him embalmed.
– Disposable body bags re-used and expense claims falsified.
– Clinical waste, such as blood and body parts, put in regular council bins.
– A funeral home with insufficient space for corpses.
– Some bodies stacked on the floor with no refrigeration.
– Bills for expensive coffins not supplied.
– A funeral home with one set of taps for cleaning bodies and washing hands.