Families whose dead members are brought to morgues have to pay for morgue staff and ‘agents’ if they want to take their relatives home for burial service.
Among hospitals in HCM City, the morgue of the Cho Ray Hospital has the highest number of corpses. Correspondents made investigation and found out an ‘underworld’ at this special place.
Earning living on cadavers
To receive dead bodies of their relatives from the Cho Ray Hospital’s morgue, people have to perform some procedures: showing the ID card or family record book of the dead and papers proving their relations with the dead and police’s report of the accident in case the dead person dies of an accident. However, since the ‘underworld’ set up at the morgue, they have to do many more ‘formalities’.
In the morning of April 20, Mr. NVN, from southern province of Ben Tre, was seriously injured in a traffic accident. The man died after two days of treatment at Cho Ray Hospital.
On the afternoon of April 22, the man’s relatives went to the hospital’s morgue to take his body. Though they showed all requested documents, the morgue manager refused to hand over the body, citing many reasons. They had to give this man VND1 million ($50) to receive the body the next morning.
Some morgue guards always ask families of dead people to buy their coffins at towering prices before receiving the corpses. The family of Mr. NVN had to pay VND40 million ($2,000) for a coffin.
On May 2, an old woman cried at the gate of the morgue because she could not take the body of her son. Two young men approached and expressed his willing to help. The woman’s relatives gave the men VND500,000 ($25) and said: “Please help us to take our brother home tonight.” After that the two men ‘guided’ this family to do necessary procedures to receive the corpse.
According to some witnesses, this woman cried a whole day at the morgue because she could not take the body of her son. Correspondents asked the morgue’s guards and they answered: “The hospital has not given permission so we cannot hand over the corpse.”
“To take corpses, they need me”
The man named Mung.
Some people who do not work at this morgue but they can come in and out this place easily. A man named Mung is said to be the ‘godfather,’ who controls the morgue.
Correspondents tried to approach Mung in the role of people who wanted to take the corpses of their relative from the morgue.
After saying hello, Mung asked: “Do you need my help? Most of people whose relatives are kept here need my help to take their corpses.” While taking with the correspondents, one appeared and asked his help. Mung left to see the morgue guards. Two young men appeared after that and told the correspondents: “You should pay him to quickly get the body of your relative to bury.”
These men are Mung’s juniors. One of the two men said that they offered all kinds of services. Customers have to pay only several million dong for paper-works, VND50-100 million ($2,500-5,000) for forensic tests, coffin and burial service.
Mung has special relations with all morgue staff, so he could advertise his services in front of them and stayed in the morgue. When people come to take corpses, the morgue guards ‘recommended’ Mung’s services. From April 27 to May 1, Mung ‘helped’ around ten cases and earned at least VND1 million from each family.
Only cash can help
Some people are waiting for taking the bodies of their relatives at Cho Ray Hospital's morgue. Mung in the smaller picture.
Playing people who go to the morgue to receive a dead body, correspondents saw the morgue guards to find information. A guard named Minh said that there was an unknown dead man in the morgue, who died of traffic accident on May 1.
After correspondents insisted to see the dead man, Minh asked another guard to take correspondents into the morgue to identify the dead and guided them to perform necessary formalities. When correspondents asked him about the transport service to take the dead body home, Minh said that there was no car at that time and called Mung. Mung offered VND50 million ($2,500) for a coffin and transport service.
Correspondents also witnessed a case in which a person was dead in a traffic accident, which required forensic tests. The dead person’s family had to pay VND35 million ($1,700) for Mung and the morgue guards to be able to fulfill all necessary formalities, including forensic tests.
Doctor Pham Thi Ngoc Thao, deputy director of Cho Ray Hospital, said that the hospital did not know about this situation. “We will strengthen inspection and supervision at the morgue,” she promised.
Source: NLD/ VNN
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