According to this article from the Telegram.com, long-time Worcester, Massachusetts funeral director Peter A. Stefan had has his license to operate suspended as of October 25. Again, according to the article the suspension comes from a second inspection of his funeral home on October 23. . the first inspection was on September 3.
The article states that on the October 23 inspection four bodies were infested with bugs and one body had been mummified. In addition, the article states that all four bodies were identified as being present at the September 3 inspection also.
Mr. Stefan claims that all of the bodies mentioned were taken by his funeral home as “unclaimed bodies”. He also claims that he is waiting for cremation authorizations that public authorities have been loathe to approve.
Stefan’s claim comes in part from the fact that many towns are wary of authorizing cremations for unclaimed bodies and finding out later that relatives would have objected to cremations on moral or religious grounds and possibly then seek legal remedies.
According to the article, Stefan claims he has been trying to get cremation permits for months. Also, on Wednesday, according to the article, city officials said that if Stefan is willing to bury the bodies, which would be more costly but less controversial, burial permits could be issued quickly.
Funeral Director Daily take: This is an interesting dilemma. And, we certainly don’t know all of the public health and mortuary laws of the State of Massachusetts. However, you would think that there would be some kind of remedy to this issue.
Burial of the bodies could be done according to the City of Worcester. But will they then pay Stefan the additional costs over what a simple cremation would be for the disposition of the body? If not, you can see Stefan’s point in not going that route.
What about the City of Worcester purchasing a cooling mechanism (freezer) for all of the unclaimed bodies? And, not release a body until there is a definitive method of human disposition for each particular human remains.
From my point of view, rational minds have to sit down and talk this through. A solution should be able to be found.