Major enough that the family of a Bronx grandmother is planning to sue the morgue for shipping her body off to a medical college without their consent, reports the New York Daily News.
The woman passed away in her sleep in May at a nursing home, but negligent handling of her remains won’t let her rest in peace, the family claims.
The woman’s son said he got permission from the city medical examiner to store his mother’s body in the city morgue at at a medical center until June 16, while he made funeral arrangements with the rest of the family, some of whom live in South America.
Somehow the morgue made a mistake, however, and shipped her body to a medical college on Juen 2 for “anatomical donation,” according to a notification the son received the day after from the city.
“I called the Bronx morgue right away and the person there confirmed they sent the body,” he told the NYDN. “I said, ‘You made a mistake,’ and he didn’t say anything, he did not apologize. I told them I wanted the body back in the same condition how it was.”
He says he was told it would take two days before he could get the body back, all while he’s imagining her lying on a slab in a classroom with students dissecting her.
But the chief of staff for the medical examiner’s office says that didn’t happen.
“She was embalmed and that was it,” she said. “She was not dissected or anything like that.”
Another official says the slip-up happened after someone failed to make a note that the body was just staying in the morgue temporarily.
“Appropriate personnel actions are being taken to ensure such a mistake doesn’t happen again,” he explained.
The family’s lawyer says they’re intending to sue over the situation.
“The city medical examiner’s office has a sacred responsibility and needs to reexamine its procedures so this never happens again,” the attorney said.