Sun | Sep 23, 2018

Dead tired over autopsy bureaucracy

Published:Saturday | February 28, 2015 | 12:00 AM

I write this letter with my heart filled with grief and disappointment in every bone of my body. I am here in Jamaica for the death of my brother, who passed away suddenly on February 12.

I am in shock to know that dealing with the Government and the persons in position is like dealing with an organised crime syndicate. I have been put to wait in limbo with regard to the burial of my brother.

You are made to think that an autopsy will be done in a timely manner, only to find out that, in fact, it's a money-making venture.

The storage of your loved ones body is essentially a means by which they make money off the family. I advised the police department and the morgue of the fact that my family members are travelling from overseas to attend the funeral, hence, there needs to be something concrete for me to set a funeral date.

I was first told he can be on the list, then told he was not on the list. I was told that because of my time constraints, I should consider a private autopsy with a private pathologist. I was okay with this, as the mounting cost of being here and the cost to change flights would be worth me getting this done.

I was told that I should contact the morgue he was assigned, St Michael's funeral home, to ask about the private autopsy. I was absolutely flabbergasted as the representative informed me that they are the only ones who can arrange a private autopsy and they will only do so if I am going have them handle the body for burial.

The last time I checked, this was considered blackmail. Not only are they making money from keeping the body for weeks on end at a considerable higher storage rate than other facilities, but now you are strong-armed into having them handle your loved one's remains.

The funny thing is that they were a strong contender to getting my business until their true colours surfaced with these business practices. I was able to get another funeral home to accept the body and arrange for an autopsy, only to be told that the police cannot release the body to do a private autopsy because of the manner of death.

I am left with absolutely no options. I am unable to mourn my brother's death because the grieving process has become a nightmare of bureaucracy and a Third World highway robbery. I am more comfortable with a robber sticking me up and taking my money than for someone who is supposed to be representing the government to use their authority to fleece grieving families at the worst times of their lives.

Where have the conscience and compassion gone?

I never thought that my Jamaican people could be this cruel and calculating. I am hurt, disappointed and utterly disgusted with this.

Not only am I addressing this here but I will be writing a letter to the human rights commission once I am back in the United States and whomever else will listen so that another family does not go through what I am now enduring. This is cruel and unusual punishment for someone whose only crime was to have a young healthy brother drop dead suddenly in Jamaica.

Please, if there is anyone with any suggestions as to how my brother's body can be autopsied so he can be buried and so that I can go back to work.


Jacquie Lauray

Boca Raton

Florida, USA