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Friday, May 22, 2009

Sad, And Tasteless

INDIANAPOLIS - A 750-pound woman who died in her bed was covered with a carpet and pulled out of her apartment on the mattress in view of neighbors, then hoisted onto a flatbed wrecker to be taken to the county morgue.
Marion County Coroner Frank Lloyd Jr. says he's investigating why a contractor with equipment capable of handling obese corpses was not used, and he has apologized to the family.
"It could have been handled in a better fashion, there's no question about that," he said Thursday.
Teresa Smith, 48, died Tuesday at her apartment, where she had been confined to bed because of her weight.
Lloyd said it wasn't clear why coroner's officials contacted a wrecker company to transport the corpse instead of using the regular body removal contractors who were at the scene. He said that the regular contractor is equipped to handle large corpses, and he was looking into why a different contractor hired more rarely was used.
"You know how you hoist a car on a flatbed with a chain? That's how they took her up there," Smith's boyfriend, David Johnson, told The Indianapolis Star.
Lloyd said that the carpet was the only suitable covering available but acknowledged it was not the best way to handle the situation given that Smith's body was visible to some apartment dwellers in a small courtyard between buildings.
"We cannot control what neighbors do on balconies," he said, adding that privacy was a key concern.
He said his office was considering purchasing a special cart for obese corpses.

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