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This is an excerpt from a member-only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe.

Know you morgue's limits, then prepare for an overflow

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June 1, 2009

Under Joint Commission standard EM.02.02.11, there is a brief mention of managing mortuary services in the event of a disaster. Such concerns also figure into 96-hour planning under EM.02.01.01.
Many of you won’t have a hard time imagining your hospital morgue overfilling during a catastrophe. Scott Janssens, RRT, MBA, CMRP, director of materials management and safety at Heywood Hospital in Gardner, MA, recently experienced this firsthand.
In December 2008, when ice storms knocked out power for a good chunk of New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts, Heywood’s morgue began filling up. Local funeral homes couldn’t take in any more bodies
because they had neither power for refrigeration nor light for embalming.
On top of that, the hospital was holding one body for the local medical examiner, who could not make it to the hospital due to road conditions.

Under Joint Commission standard EM.02.02.11, there is a brief mention of managing mortuary services in the event of a disaster. Such concerns also figure into 96-hour planning under EM.02.01.01.
Many of you won’t have a hard time imagining your hospital morgue overfilling during a catastrophe. Scott Janssens, RRT, MBA, CMRP, director of materials management and safety at Heywood Hospital in Gardner, MA, recently experienced this firsthand.



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