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    Jun 20, 2014

    Aussie morgue rejects 200kg body


    AN AUSTRALIAN funeral director had to store the body of a 200kg man in her car overnight, after a morgue refused it for being too big, reports said yesterday.

    Joanne Cummings said she had to drive for two hours back home with the corpse in her hearse, with the air-conditioner at full blast to keep it cool.

    "I actually had to turn around and drive two hours home to Roebourne (in Western Australia) and keep him in my car overnight," she told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

    "I had to have the air-con up...and look after him that way, check on him every half hour, and, the following morning, we hired a sea container with a chiller unit in it."

    Ms Cummings, co-owner of Pilbara Funeral Services in north-western Australia, said it was not the first time that the Hedland Health Campus hospital had rejected large bodies.

    She said a staff member described a 250kg dead man last year as "too fat, he can't go in the fridge".

    Ms Cummings told the North West Telegraph newspaper: "You can't say things like that - imagine if this was your mother."

    Western Australia's Country Health Service said the hospital's equipment could handle only bodies weighing up to 150kg, and that it would look into installing machinery that could take bodies weighing up to 300kg.

    "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," the service's regional director, Ron Wynn, said in a statement.

    But Ms Cummings dismissed his claim that the hospital could not take in larger bodies as a "load of crap".

    "I could probably put a baby elephant in one of those fridges, and it'd fit through the door, but they're refusing entry to a human being," she said.

    "My issue is, if that was your father, mother, wouldn't want them refused entry to the mortuary."