Hospital holds mass burial

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A MASS burial was conducted yesterday for unclaimed bodies including 20 babies which had been left in the Port Moresby General Hospital mortuary for some time.
Hospital chief executive officer Dr Paki Molumi said the bodies buried at the 9-Mile cemetery included 58 adults, 20 babies, one child and 33 parts of bodies.
They were kept at the hospital mortuary from August to December last year.
The hospital puts out newspaper advertisements to advise the public about unclaimed bodies in its mortuary. It will do another one today for the month of January.
“We have a two-week grace (period) for collection,” he said.
“(If the bodies are not collected), then we will get clearance from the coroner’s office for a mass burial.”
In January, bodies in the mortuary included 25 adults, three babies, three young children and five body parts.
He said even after removing the unclaimed bodies, there were still around 200 adults in the mortuary which was beyond its capacity.
Dr Molumi said the chillers were installed 30 years ago for only 60 bodies. Now that the population has increased, about 20 bodies were added to the morgue in a day.
Bodies are now placed on top of each other which stresses the capacity of the chillers to keep them cold.
He said getting containers to store the bodies in was a short-term measure only.
The hospital manages the mortuary although it comes under the National Capital District Commission.
“(Hence) we are working with the NCDC to upgrade the mortuary,” Dr Molumi said.