personal

How do Philippine hospitals move corpses?

I’ve been trying to search the Internet for the proper way of moving dead bodies inside the hospital premises, from the rooms or ICU to the morgue. To my dismay, I could not find any guideline, law or procedure published on-line. So if you know any, please enlighten me. Thank you. Why I am so suddenly talking about such a morbid topic, you may ask, please read on.

My brother-in-law passed away almost 2 weeks ago at UST Hospital due to Acute Kidney Failure with an underlying cause, Chronic Kidney Disease. He was a proud product of UST. He finished High School, BS Medical Technology (as a pre-med course) and Doctor of Medicine in UST. Yes, he was a doctor and more of his honors and achievements in my later tribute. He probably chose UST Hospital because he truly loved it and he trusted some of its doctors who happens to be his brothers or colleagues at one point. 


According to my sister-in-law who was with him during his confinement, their experience at UST Hospital was nothing but unpleasant. The lack of rooms. The long lines for laboratory tests and x-rays. The insensitive remarks of staff, that the sick doctor had no HMO card. The manner of collection and the supposed room evacuation while their loved-one was being moved to the ICU. Imagine worrying for your brother’s life while having to think about where to put your valuables if the hospital evicted you. The usage of 2 out of 9 donated bags of blood and the handling fee of P700, which appeared not just once in the bill. To be fair, most professional fees were waived (only around 7k, but upon searching, it was because it is explicitly stated in their Professional Code of Ethics Article IV Section I). Let me cut the story right here because it was a story for my sister-in-law to tell. Besides, my brother-in-law was a UST loyalist. I do not want him to hate me. 


However, I was appalled by the way UST Hospital transferred the corpse from the CCU to the basement parking made storage of unserviceable properties / morgue. Wrapped in a yellow bed sheet, without any white cover on top, they put the body in the gurney. We headed to the freight elevator (used by patients too) which I thought would go straight to the basement. Well, it didn’t. We had to walk corridors after corridors. For me, it was a long walk. We actually had to exit the main building using the main door and go to the parking / basement. The basement was filled with unserviceable properties, chairs, tables, Christmas tree and a lot more. It was a lonely sight for me. No sacredness in that place and definitely no sanitation in my recollection. For a moment, I wondered if UST Hospital was a private institution. 

I always thought that at least for a primed and private hospital, charging almost 100k per day for hospital charges alone, it will use a special table which is like a regular gurney at first glance but with a large space underneath where the body will be placed. Then, a sheet is draped over it, hanging over the sides. No one has to see the corpse, as if you were parading it for everyone to see. Or at least use the back door perhaps. Even if everyone else in the hospital were busy, I can’t help but felt exposed in all our vulnerabilities. I just did not see nor feel the respect, care, decency and sensitivity. If I were the other patients, I would mind and would not appreciate as well the parade of a dead body.
I don’t know how it goes for other private hospitals. So again, please enlighten me. I don’t know if I’m wrong, or if I’m being too sensitive or even judgmental. Do you think my expectations and standards were too high? Again, I can’t find any guideline or procedure about transporting corpse inside (and outside) the hospital, so maybe there’s no tangible or obvious violation except the one I felt here on my left chest (heart). As a grieving family/relative, I just felt violated and scandalized.
P.S. To my brother-in-law, I know how much you loved UST, so please bear with my opinion. RIP, dear iboy.

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