The director of a West Australian funeral home kept the body of a 440-pound man in her car overnight Wednesday after a hospital morgue refused to take it because it was “too fat” to store.
This is the third time in recent years that the Hedland Health Campus has rejected bodies for being too large, said Joanne Cummings, the co-owner of Pilbara Funeral Services in Port Hedland, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The hospital morgue can only store bodies up to 330 pounds, but it is working to install equipment to handle bodies up to 660 pounds, according to a Hedland Health Campus statement by Ron Wynn, the regional director of the WA Country Health Service.
“It is imperative that at all times a deceased person is treated with the utmost care and respect and viewings are arranged so as not to cause distress and inconvenience to grieving families," Wynn said in the statement.
Cummings said she was forced to keep the body in her car and had to keep her air conditioning running throughout the night in an effort to preserve it. She added that she used up three tanks of gas during the process and made sure to check on the body every 30 minutes to see if it had started decomposing, according to Thought Catalogue.
After keeping the body in her car overnight, she rented out a shipping container equipped with a freezer to store the body.
Cummings said she thinks the Hedland Health Campus should have taken the body and that it had the means to store it.
“It’s a load of crap… I could probably put a baby elephant in one of those fridges and it’d fit through the door, and they’re refusing entry for a human being,” Cummings told the North West Telegraph.
“My issue is if that was your father, mother, partner … you wouldn’t want them refused entry into the mortuary,” she added. “Imagine if this was your mother.”
Sources: The Sydney Morning Herald, Thought Catalogue