• Sweden edition
 

Undertakers 'sickened' by hospital’s corpse storage

Published: 07 Mar 2012 17:40 GMT+01:00
Updated: 07 Mar 2012 17:40 GMT+01:00

”There are no excuses. What am I to tell the relatives? That they have to bury them as soon as possible because otherwise they may risk their loved ones having another deceased’s feet in their face,” said undertaker Marcus Eriksson to news agency TT.

The funeral directors made the discovery when they were picking up a deceased woman for burial. On the same bier was another corpse with its feet in the dead woman’s face.

In total, twenty bodies were kept in the same manner. One of the bodies had its feet in liquids that had leaked out of another’s mouth.

Undertakers Tomas Odén and Marcus Ericson went to the morgue at Stockholm’s Karolinska university hospital on Friday to pick up one of the deceased to prepare her for funeral.

“It was sickening. Another deceased’s feet were pressed up against her face,” said Odén to TT.

His colleague Ericson returned the day after on an administrative errand.

“Considering what had happened the day before we decided to go through all the fridges and we counted twenty that were laying head to toe," Ericson said.

A report has subsequently been made to the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen).

According to TT, the Stockholm County Council has closed several unmanned morgues across the county, which has resulted in a shortage of spaces.

But that this has resulted in corpses being placed head to toe at the Karolinska morgue is news to pathologist Göran Cederqvist, who told TT that this was not common practice at the hospital.

“It might have occurred in a few isolated instances, but only temporarily. We don’t keep bodies that way, we just don’t,” he told TT.

If there is a shortage of biers in the fridges they close down the mortuary and send the bodies to another hospital, according to Cederqvist.

There is currently no general shortage of morgue-space in Sweden, but in some places the situation looks worse than in others.

The reason for the shortage is that people are taking longer to organize funerals today than they did before, says Ulf Lernéus at the Swedish Funeral Directors’ Association (Sveriges begravningsbyråers förbund, SBF), a problem which is particularly pressing in Stockholm.

On May 1st, new regulations come into effect, shortening the time allowed between death and funeral from two months to one. Lernéus is hoping that this will take the pressure off the Swedish mortuaries.

According to TT, this is not the first time this kind of storage scandal has occurred in Stockholm. Lernéus is shocked that this may be happening again.

”It just cannot occur, it simply can’t,” he told TT.

TT/The Local/rm

twitter.com/thelocalsweden

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

19:36 March 7, 2012 by Svensksmith
Are the corpses complaining?
19:57 March 7, 2012 by sergisr
I wonder why the hell do they store the corpses of their deceased relatives, instead of burying or cremating them quickly. I can't figure someone saying: "We go on vacation to Acapulco and, on returning, we'll have time enough to bury the grandpa".
20:22 March 7, 2012 by stevo1
How about funeral homes taking some of the fault.

Rising costs of performing a funeral is also another reason that corpses lay in wait at hospitals because many families cannot raise the money in sufficient time. If these funeral directors are so appalled by the situation, why don't they store some of the bodies in their own morgue?

And why would you inform an already grieving family of such an incident in the first place, Swedish funeral directors must be some of the most callous people in the industry!

In the end, the body is just a vessel for the soul, so stacking corpses five deep in refrigeration is still hygienic and prevents decay, it's not like these corpses have been left outside, on some ones door step in the elements.

Tomas Odén and Marcus Ericson you should be ashamed of yourselves making this issue public by media in the first place, it is clear you have no respect for common decency and you have done nothing for your own business - I will surely avoid your business if the need arises.

It's very easy to criticize others, without taking some responsibility for yourselves.
21:22 March 7, 2012 by BillyB
"What am I to tell the relatives?"

well how about telling them nothing? How will telling them help anyone???

Something like this should be sorted out quietly, pointless upsetting families more.
21:32 March 7, 2012 by hjoian
What is it with these people?Some Russian morgues are piled up body on body, leaks and all,if you need a body at the bottom you may have to shift another 10 bodies. People in this trade need to realise they will see this sort of thing. Is this country so sanitized that even a funeral worker would complain about such a thing? Firstly your talking about a non complaining corpse, secondly its your job to take and process a body for burial,that may mean unpleasantness. Realise things could be much worse, or change your job. Idiot.
10:00 March 8, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
...seems reasonable to 'flag' the issue - at the same time, I agree its reasonable to expect to see some upsetting things in dealing with the dead.

How would the funeral directors concerned, feel about dealing with a corpse which has been mutilated/disfigured by disease or injury?
11:57 March 8, 2012 by zooeden
People wait so fripping long here to bury a dead one, its not even funny so Im happy the feet of another is in some old fart leaking juice and molding the face!!!

Maybe it will give perspective that people have to act fast, pay the respects and bury/cremate after dunno 3 days and not wait untill skateverket pays the taxes back!!! Im so insentitive...
13:03 March 8, 2012 by anonymous4
There are sanitary standards that must be followed by the hospital morgues and undertakers. If it takes government intervention and passage of laws to regulate the funeral industry, then so be it! What do you want next? Mass graves for convenience?
18:40 March 8, 2012 by Youdee
Other countries can bury their dead within 3 days. Why can't high-tech, super-computerized Sweden? All the churches, chapels, funeral homes in Stockholm can't be booked 24/7. And if the ministers are booked, then perhaps priests from the countryside might want to pick up some extra cash...
13:32 March 9, 2012 by Borilla
Just another anachronism. The Swedish funeral industry is trying its best to make funerals here as big and as costly a business as in the US. The Aleuts have the right idea. Put them on an ice floe and push them out to sea. The only question here should be whether this "problem" constitutes a threat to public health or not. Require burial within one week (3 days?). But then the funeral people wouldn't have time to squeeze the families for more money would they? Cremate them and move on. You seldom hear the dead complain.
17:58 March 9, 2012 by skylarkpilot
"It can't happen, it just can't"..........Oh that's all right then.

Oh no what's that ... it did happen ?

The official said it can't and someone is questioning that ?

Surprised they got any official to say anything. Hardest thing in Sweden is to get someone in an official capacity to say anything !

But rest assured, absolutely nothing will happen as a result of this......Phew
18:49 March 9, 2012 by eovti
What does it matter how my body is treated after I'm dead?

I won't care, because i'll be, well, dead.

So having another stiff's toe in my mouth or whatever won't bother me, because "I" won't be there.
Today's headlines
Sport
Sweden's star striker Zlatan 'recovering well'
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is Sweden's top scorer in history. PHOTO: TT/Maja Suslin

Sweden's star striker Zlatan 'recovering well'

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is recovering well from the nagging heel problem that has stopped him playing for Sweden during its Euro 2016 qualifying campaign. READ  

International
Swedish sisters create viral Syria stir
A shot from the video on YouTube.

Swedish sisters create viral Syria stir

Two sisters from Södertälje near Stockholm are celebrating getting more than 1.3 million hits on YouTube, with a video calling for peace in war-torn Syria. READ  

Pirate Bay
Pirate Bay founder gets three years in prison
A 2013 image of Svartholm Warg. Photo: TT

Pirate Bay founder gets three years in prison

Swedish "hactivist" Gottfrid Svartholm Warg has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for hacking crimes. READ  

Royal family
Princess Madeleine to make Nobel comeback
Princess Madeleine at a previous Nobel banquet. Photo: TT

Princess Madeleine to make Nobel comeback

Sweden's Princess Madeleine is scheduled to appear at the Nobel Festival in Stockholm in December, after taking time out from her royal duties to focus on looking after her daughter. READ  

Politics
'We knew that Israel would be critical'
Foreign Minister Margot Wallström (left), with Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. Photo: TT

'We knew that Israel would be critical'

Sweden's Foreign Minister has told The Local she respects Israel's decision to recall its ambassador after Sweden officially recognized the State of Palestine, and laughed off comments about IKEA furniture made by her Israeli counterpart. READ  

Analysis
'Store up your sunlight hours before winter'
Doctors say we should make the most of the autumn sunshine. Photo: Shutterstock

'Store up your sunlight hours before winter'

Spending time outdoors this autumn will help you survive a cold, dark Swedish winter. Baba Pendse, Head of Psychiatry at Lund University shares his top tips for battling the seasonal blues with The Local. READ  

Sports
Plot for shared Scandi Winter Olympic bid
Skiers hit the slopes in Åre, western Sweden. Photo: TT

Plot for shared Scandi Winter Olympic bid

Norwegian sports officials have said they want to co-host the winter Olympics with Sweden in 2026. But there has so far been no official response from Sweden. READ  

National
Anti-Israel graffiti 'not a race crime': Court
Photo: TT

Anti-Israel graffiti 'not a race crime': Court

A teenage boy who painted anti-Israel slogans and symbols on the Concert Hall in Gothenburg has been convicted for the damages he caused, but he walked free from racial agitation charges. READ  

Entertainment
A closer look at Sweden's rising stars
Swedish actresses Sandra Huldt and Julia Ragnarsson. Julia (right) has been nominated for a Rising Star award. Photo: TT

A closer look at Sweden's rising stars

Like to be ahead of the game when it comes to the next big thing on the silver screen? We find out more about the Swedish nominees for the Rising Star award to be presented at Stockholm's International Film Festival next week. READ  

Science
Swedish women in two-year sex pill study
Contraceptive pills have been linked to mood swings. Photo: Shutterstock

Swedish women in two-year sex pill study

Three hundred women from across Sweden are taking part in a study designed to demonstrate that modern contraceptive pills don't lead to decreased libido or mood swings. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
Stockholm's shocking take on Halloween
Sport
Top ten quotes from Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
People-watching: October 30th
National
Sweden remains fourth best for gender equality
Blog updates

31 October

Editor’s Blog, October 31st (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, Welcome to our latest 60-second round-up of the week’s news. First, Sweden made headlines around the..." READ »

 

29 October

Scariest day (Blogweiser) »

"This is what’s frightening me on Halloween. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4OFZVCu8J0&list=UUJu5J7jG4uoYSjWbpFsJBuQ Follow my posts on FB. ..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Timeline: Julian Assange sex allegations
Sport
World Cup ski race on 'fake' Stockholm slope
Society
An Arctic tradition: hunting and handicraft
Society
Stockholm taxis offer free therapy sessions
National
The Local meets Health Minister Gabriel Wikström
Gallery
Property of the week: Österåker
Society
Homeless turtles get Stockholm police ride
National
Construction worker has 'Sweden's best beard'
National
Italian musician jazzes up Sweden's Lapland
Gallery
Zlatan's career in pictures
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: October 25th and 26th
Lifestyle
'Swedes are funnier than they think'
National
Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

982
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN