USA: A wild story out of Baltimore says hundreds of bodies are piling up in a make-shift morgue in a parking garage.
Baltimore Banner’s first newsletter broke the story Thursday. It said, “more than 200 bodies are awaiting autopsies by doctors at Maryland’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the agency located in downtown Baltimore responsible for investigating deaths statewide.”
Baltimore Banner’s Tim Prudente, the lead reporter on the story, called the backlog of bodies awaiting the medical examiner “unprecedented.” He said the number of bodies at the make-shift morgue is “growing by the day and filling up the morgue refrigerators.”
“The backlog snowballed from 50 bodies awaiting autopsy in late December to 150 bodies in late January. State officials estimate the number will exceed 300 bodies this month. They blame office turnover and the coronavirus pandemic that’s kept employees sick at home. Staff shortages come amid increasing numbers of murders and drug overdoses, cases that require autopsies,” Prudente said.
Space in the parking garage of the old Social Security Administration building in the downtown area of Baltimore City appears to be filling up quickly.
Prudente interviewed Patrick Moran, president of the local chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, whose members include autopsy assistants, lab techs, and forensic investigators with the office, and confirmed the make-shift morgue in the parking garage and said, “it’s a mess.”
The situation worsens and has caused alarm among Dr. Victor Weedn, the chief medical examiner for Maryland, who has requested help from the federal mortuary disaster teams.
The Baltimore Banner obtained an internal email from Weedn to his staff who wrote:
“The entire Chief Medical Examiner Office staff is struggling to cope. We are receiving endless calls from families, who have to wait without being given an answer to their questions when their loved one will be released. We have no good answers for them.”
Despite the increasing body count, there’s a growing concern about labor shortages among morgue workers that limit body processing.
“If the federal government is paying more, if cities and counties are paying more, that’s where people are going to go,” Moran said. We are having bodies piling up in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner because they can’t bring anybody to work because the conditions are miserable, unsanitary and the pay is awful.”
A spokesman for Gov. Larry Hogan chimed in on the discussions and said the problem isn’t state salaries but too few pathologists.
“There is a critical shortage of forensic pathologists – there are only about 500 board-certified pathologists in the entire country, so this is not a challenge unique to Maryland,” said Michael Ricci, a spokesman for Hogan.
Baltimore Banner’s first news story appears to have broken a disturbing development in the liberal state where out of control murders and drug overdoses, along with staffing shortages, has created a perfect storm for the medical examiner.
by Tyler Durden