It's just dead wrong
Lyn says untrained funeral home operators moving COVID-19 victims in public passenger vehiclesWednesday, September 15, 2021
BY KASEY WILLIAMS
MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Respected mortician Calvin Lyn says untrained funeral home operators are not properly handling the remains of COVID-19 victims, transporting them, in some instances, in public passenger vehicles.
“It is being reported to me, by at least three members of JACE [Jamaica Association of Certified Embalmers], that remains are being removed from their premises — especially those members who are contractors to the Government — by unqualified funeral directors,” he said.
The bodies, Lyn alleged, were removed from three funeral homes in Clarendon, St Ann, and St Catherine by the untrained funeral operators.
“They come and they are unprepared [because] they don't have the PPEs [personal protective equipment] and the vehicles are not appropriate. The people will come with minibuses with passengers in it and even taxis, so that is really unacceptable. I don't know how it is going to be dealt with,” said Lyn, a proprietor of the renowned Lyn's Funeral Home and Oaklawn Memorial Gardens located in Manchester.
He said the improper practice is not new to the funeral home industry and called on the Ministry of Health and Wellness to intervene.
“… That is what one member reported to me, and is not just now. Members have been reporting this for months, even part of the last year — the first [time] I recall getting a report from a member in Clarendon. Last week I got the report from the one in St Ann,” said Lyn.
“I just want to highlight this for the Ministry of Health to pay some attention there, because we know that the situation with a COVID death can be handled in the [right] way when you use the proper chemicals and the PPE to protect yourself as handlers and the public at large,” he added.
Lyn, who is also president of JACE, said all of his staff are fully vaccinated and equipped with PPEs to handle the remains of COVID-19 victims.
“All of my people are fully vaccinated, even those in the office and the embalming room, drivers too — everybody,” he told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
He said the JACE members are also fully compliant with COVID-safety requirements.
“They insist that their employees are vaccinated and still wear their PPEs. We still have to wear the masks. We sanitise, because we have to play our part in fighting to win the battle against this virus. We can't live like this forever,” he said.
He also urged relatives of the deceased to be careful when dealing with funeral home operators.
“You have no guarantee as to the activity of the virus even after death. This is to highlight to the public that they are to be careful as to the funeral operators they engage to carry out business on their behalf, because situations like this are endangering the public,” he said.
“Our health is at risk when we really don't know the full extent of the power of the virus,” he added.
He said the Government-contracted funeral homes are mandated to release the bodies to the untrained funeral operators.
“As the contractor to whichever hospital or the police department, when the documents are issued and the relatives decide that they are going to use [a specific] funeral home then you have no other alternative but to release the body,” said Lyn.