Morgue filling up as quarantined families unable to make funeral arrangements

Guam Memorial Hospital (PNC file photo)

The morgue at the Guam Memorial Hospital is filling up because some relatives of recently deceased people are unable to make the necessary funeral arrangements due to the fact that they are in quarantine.

GMH administrator and CEO Lillian Perez-Posadas said when a deceased person dies of COVID-19, it is understandable that the person’s immediate relatives would also be placed under quarantine as a precaution.

And when placed under quarantine, a deceased person’s loved ones would have limited mobility and may not have enough time and resources to call a funeral service to pick up their loved one’s body and make internment arrangements.

“We have some vacancies, but there are times when it is full and part of it is when the deceased individuals’ families are not able to arrange a funeral and get to pick up a body. One of the reasons is that, you know, the family members are in quarantine, so they’re not able to make the arrangements or whatever it is with the funeral home,” Perez-Posadas said during a virtual roundtable hearing held by Speaker Therese Terlaje to receive updates on the Guam Memorial Hospital.

Jeff Ventura, GMH chief planner, said the morgue just outside the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office, had to be removed in mid-June because it was already inoperable.

As for the portable morgue that the Guam National Guard would be bringing in, Ventura said this will be able to store only 23 adult cadavers.