PNG’s biggest referral hospital, the Port Moresby General Hospital’s mortuary is piled beyond its capacity with unclaimed bodies and requires additional space to accommodate for more bodies that are brought in daily.
The need for space is not the hospitals only concern, the morgues deteriorating state has worsened overtime and needs the urgent attention from responsible authorities.
The mortuary is already overcrowded with 220 bodies waiting to be claimed by relatives and given proper burials. The morgue has a holding capacity of 120 bodies.
Director for Medical Services at the Port Moresby General Hospital Dr Kone Sobi took the media on a tour of the morgue today to show to the public and the relevant authorities’ one of Port Moresby’s biggest problem that is eating away the hospital’s finances which should be put towards other key facilities in the hospital.
Dr Sobi said the hospital conducts mass burials three to four times a year which costs the hospital K30, 000 per mass burial.
“It’s costing the hospital a lot of money to do mass burials because these bodies are not picked up for up to 12 months”
The hospital has at least over 40 unclaimed bodies and body parts that are waiting for relatives to give them a proper burial.
Dr Sobi said it is unbecoming as Melanesians not bury loved ones and let them rot away in the morgue.
“The deceased are placed in the morgue and they are not claimed.”
“When you have your deceased in the morgue, do the honourable thing.”
“Come pick up your bodies, give them a decent burial and send them off.”
He is now appealing to the public to come forward and claim bodies of their loved ones and ease the burden on the hospital.
Dr Sobi said the hospital morgue has two chillers, however one is out of order which has forced them to stack up bodies in the extra three refrigerator containers that can only hold up to 20 bodies each.
“This is a risk to the morgue staff, to the surrounding communities and also to our specialist who conduct autopsies”
Dr Sobi said they have temporarily stopped doing autopsies since August last year until they can rectify the current condition of the morgue. The Mortuary is over 30 years old built by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and since, then the hospital management have been trying to maintain the mortuary over the years, however the aging facility needs an overhaul with the increase of dead bodies.
Dr Sobi one behalf of the hospital is calling on the relevant authorities to assist in any way at all to find a solution to this problem that will affect the whole city if the other functioning chiller ceases to operate.
Meanwhile Officer in Charge of the Morgue Albert Tole said they receive up to 19 bodies everyday which is a lot of bodies for the morgue to hold. “We put two bodies in one tray and if all those trays are occupied then we don’t have a choice but the family of the deceased are forced to take the decease to funeral home which will cost them some money”
He said the unclaimed bodies from September last are still there at the morgue which includes at least ten infants.
“We have bodies of more than ten infants here still at morgue and it is really heart breaking for me when their relatives especially their parents are not turning up to claim their bodies.”
As a staff of the morgue, Mr Tole hopes authorities can assist in extending the morgue or rebuilding a bigger one that can be able to cater for the city population and even outside provinces like Gulf and Central province.