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Declining respect for the dead, grieving families

Published:Saturday | December 9, 2023 | 12:05 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

I write to express my utter disgust and frustration at the treatment and lack of urgency within the current system to support families to decently bury their deceased loved ones. In this instance, I was travelling in Canada, along with my husband, on October 25 when we received the sad news of the passing of my father, a 72-year-old man who lived alone. Based on the circumstances outlined – that he was found outside his yard at approximately 24 -36 hours after he was last seen by connected persons – we agreed, when the police came, for an autopsy to be performed.

We aborted our trip and business pursuits and returned to Jamaica, with the intent to facilitate all arrangements for an appropriate burial. To date, we’ve been unable to retrieve the body, since no autopsy was conducted, and several queries with the Institute of Medical Sciences (Forensic) have indicated that there has been no scheduling or a plan for any early resolution.

The absence of a proper system to conduct autopsies without delay points to scant regard and respect for the dead, and the associated pain and suffering families face.

This is a cry for revamping the system and coming to the aid of grieving families with quick actions, whether a body is decomposed, according to the label assigned, or to ensure respect for the dead.

It is a cry for empathy for the emotions, and cost incurred by these long delays in performing autopsies – it affects financial planning and presents a general challenge to coordinate the family interests to provide a respectable burial for loved ones.

The parent ministry, the Ministry of National Security, must intervene urgently and bring resolution to this inefficient, ineffectual and uncaring operation.

RENE DICKENSON