Philadelphia hospital investigating why bodies were moved to morgue in pickup truck

Philadelphia-based Einstein Medical Center is investigating why corpses were taken to the medical examiner's office in a pickup truck Sunday, according to Philly Voice.

A photographer from The Philadelphia Inquirer said he saw five or six bodies being moved. The bodies were stacked on top of each other and moved from the hospital to the medical examiner's office, about 11 miles away, the photographer said. It is not known if the bodies were COVID-19 victims.

The hospital has contracts with funeral homes to ensure proper transfer of bodies to the city morgue, and it is not clear why those established protocols were broken, Philly Voice reports.

The Medical Examiner's Office confirmed that a transfer of human remains from a local hospital had arrived in "an unapproved manner," according to the Inquirer.

An Einstein Medical Center spokesperson told the publication that the hospital is conducting an investigation along with the medical examiner's office, and once it has concluded, "there will be swift and corrective action."

"While the COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented healthcare challenges, all patients should be treated with respect and dignity at every stage, and this should never happen," the spokesperson said.

Philadelphia officials condemned the incident, with a health department spokesperson telling Philly Voice that officials were "appalled" by the manner in which the bodies were transferred.

During a news briefing April 21, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said that the incident was "extremely distressing."

"When we talked about fatality management, one of the things I said to all people running our departments is I wanted people to be treated with dignity," he said. "They're human beings, they're family members of people. That is unconscionable what happened."

Mr. Kenney said that the medical examiner's office had a "stern" conversation with Einstein Medical Center.

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