Three bodies that were in a decomposed state were yesterday removed from the Port of Spain General Hospital mortuary following an exclusive Express report on the matter.
The Express understands that while the story “Big Stink” created a stir at the hospital, it was the very person who raised concern over the issue—pathologist Dr Shaheeba Barrow—who had to manage the removal herself.
Barrow confirmed that she liaised with the Trinidad and Tobago Friendly Society to have the bodies removed from the morgue and kept until Friday.
On August 17, the morgue’s refrigeration system malfunctioned, causing the bodies to start rotting.
The decomposed bodies were placed in an adjoining chilling room thereby contaminating that area and creating an unbearable stench.
All fresh bodies had to be placed in the same chill room with rotting bodies.
Staff at the mortuary had to work under the sickening conditions.
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan has expressed surprise that over a week had passed and nothing was done to remove the bodies and treat the matter with urgency.
Sources told the Express yesterday that North West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA) management was more concerned about how the story was leaked than with dealing with the issue.
The Express learnt the Trinidad and Tobago Friendly Society visited the morgue yesterday to remove one body and Dr Barrow enquired whether the three decomposed bodies could also be removed.
Approval was given and signed off by the Authority’s Finance Department and the bodies were removed and will be kept at the Friendly Society’s chill room until Friday.
Meanwhile, questions have been raised as to why the NWRHA board and management failed to even begin the process of placing advertisements in the media calling on the public to identify and claim the three bodies which have been lying in the morgue since July.
The Express understands that from today advertisements will be carried in the print media.
If no one claims the bodies by Friday, their final rites will be done by the hospital.
Sources told the Express while the rotting bodies were removed the core problem of the mortuary and lab dilapidated conditions were still on a back burner to be addressed.
Also, the morgue’s refrigeration system was not yet 100 per cent functional.
See Editorial on Page 12