On whose authority?

Charles Cowling

It’s an interesting fact that a funeral director can go to a hospital mortuary and collect a dead person to bring back to their funeral home on the verbal instruction of that dead person’s executor. That’ll be good enough for the mortuary. If a funeral director whom they’ve never seen before turns up, they may ask for proof that he or she actually is a funeral director. A letterhead will normally suffice. What the mortuary doesn’t ask for is written authorisation from the executor.

So far as I know, no one has ever collected from a mortuary a body to which they had no entitlement. Could a couple of Satanists in disguise go and get someone? I rather think they could. Please tell me I am wrong.

Teresa Evans runs a campaign whose object is to require public bodies to inform the public fully on all matters concerning bereavement. She wants their consumer rights and human rights to be properly respected.

She is presently researching this matter of authorisation, so I asked her to write something for this blog. If you want to respond, please do so in a comment below or direct to Teresa through her website.

A NHS Mortician unlawfully gave clothing worn by my son at his death to my contracted funeral undertaker who did not have my consent to collect these items.

The undertaker took it upon himself to bury the clothing, which he claimed was heavily blood stained, in a plastic bag beneath my son’s body in his coffin.

This experience has highlighted to me the necessity for funeral undertakers to produce a letter of authority that is specific to whatever personal property they might be collecting on behalf of their contracted party (the bereaved) from either a NHS Mortuary or a Public mortuary.

I seek to challenge that this practice be applied so to serve protection on public bodies within the NHS and the bereaved alike, and would welcome other people’s viewpoints.

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[…] Back on 1 Feb 2010 I wrote a post which began: It’s an interesting fact that a funeral director can go to a hospital mortuary and collect a dead person to bring back to their funeral home on the verbal instruction of that dead person’s executor. It attracted a lively discussion. You can read it all here. […]