Mystery of Decomposed Body Baffles Hospital

Reply Mon 14 Oct, 2002 06:48 am
Mystery of Decomposed Body Baffles Hospital
Fri Oct 11, 9:03 AM ET

PARIS (Reuters) - Was the hospital waiting list too long or did the patient just get lost?

Questions are being asked at the Hotel Dieu hospital in Paris where a plumber working in the basement last week came across a decomposed corpse wearing hospital pajamas, Le Figaro newspaper reported on Thursday.

Hospital administrators are asking whether the corpse could be that of a tramp who got into the hospital and donned pajamas for some creature comfort, or a patient who absconded and was never found.

An autopsy is to be carried out to try to identify the macabre discovery.

But would-be patients at the hospital, located near Notre Dame Cathedral in the heart of Paris, may be perplexed to hear a comment from a staff member who preferred to remain anonymous.

"We lose about six or seven patients a year," he told Le Figaro.

Maybe he forgot to pay the premium on his health insurance! Rolling Eyes Laughing Shocked Very Happy
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Craven de Kere
Reply Mon 14 Oct, 2002 12:07 pm
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Reply Mon 14 Oct, 2002 01:24 pm
That is freaky could

you imagine if you were one of those patients or your parents.....!!!!!
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Reply Mon 14 Oct, 2002 01:41 pm
Egad. Well, there's

a whole body (pun not intended) of American case law on 'wrongful cremation'. I don't mean the living who are cremated

(which is awful and reminiscent of Auschwitz). Rather, I mean, someone didn't want to be cremated, but they were after their

death (or vice versa). Generally this is due to toe tags being switched (either accidentally or deliberately), either at a

morgue or the Coroner's office or a funeral home. You'd be surprised (or perhaps you wouldn't) at the - ahem -

merry mixups that go on at the morgue.
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Reply Wed 16 Oct, 2002 06:30 pm




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Reply Thu 17 Oct, 2002 09:03 am
I'm sure that, for

the most part, the switching isn't deliberate or even done for a joke. More likely, it's mislabeling. I realize that may be

an unfeeling term for someone's deceased loved one, but the idea here is, say, corpse #1 is a male and corpse #2 is female

but then the coroner (or whoever) comes in and says, wait a second, we label all male corpses with even numbers and all

females with odd numbers. So a switch is made. Or perhaps a corpse has an ambiguous name, such as Sydney. Is it a man or a

woman? If you're just in the office doing paperwork, you might make a mistake. I'm not saying that all coroner's offices

do this kind of gender-specific labeling (in fact, I'm willing to wager than virtually none of them do), but you can see

where a clerical situation can get out of hand. What if identical twins die on the same day? Or bodies are burned beyond

recognition? Or two people die with the same name or extremely similar names (John Smith and John Smyth or Johnny Smith).

The bottom line is that what, if these were files, would just result in a misfiled piece of paper or poor

alphabetization garners an emotional connection when linked to the bodies of our loved ones.

In the South (and I

can't recall the state) recently, there was a case wherein bodies which were supposed to be cremated but weren't. Instead,

that funeral home deceived its customers by giving them whoever's ashes and palming them off as a particular deceased

person's, when in reality it was just mixed ashes. What are the wrongs there?
(1) Public health - e. g. keeping bodies

after a certain period of time is a violation of the health code.
(2) Negligence and/or fraud - e. g. giving customers a

mixed set of ashes but claiming the ashes are one person's. Plus, charging a customer for cremation when the service was not


But what else? Beyond those two obvious wrongs, what else is the problem here? Well, don't we all feel

somewhat squeamish about this? The fact that these are human bodies, rather than files or the like is what adds a different

emotional dimension. This is something in our makeup, which reaches back through the centuries to the Egyptians and past

that, even, to the Neanderthals. It's the way we treat our dead. Yes, in many places there are laws against desecrating a

body, but it's more than that. It's just something kind of, I don't know, programmed into our DNA, wherein we get a gut

reaction to something like this.

I guess I hit a tangent but it's that gut reaction talking.
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Merry Andrew
Reply Fri 8 Nov, 2002 08:42 am
So that's what happened to Jimmy Hoffa. He went to France to hide out in a hospital and...
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Reply Fri 8 Nov, 2002 09:23 am
Jimmy Hoffa I heard, from good sources, is under the Meadow Lands site.
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Reply Fri 8 Nov, 2002 12:41 pm
Hoffa probably has lots of "company"!
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Reply Fri 8 Nov, 2002 01:08 pm
I'd bet the farm on it.
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Reply Fri 8 Nov, 2002 01:09 pm
Did you watch CSI last night?
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