MHG implements changes in response to mishandling of bodies

By Brett Callwood

Photo by Gary Kohatsu CHANGES IMPLEMENTED—Memorial Hospital of Gardena officials said the hospital has resolved the issue of mishandled dead bodies and have already made vital changes moving forward.

In last week’s GVN, we published a story about the national reports that Memorial Hospital of Gardena had mismanaged the handling of dead bodies of patients as it struggled to keep up with the numbers, improperly storing them. An anonymous witness told CBSLA, “Those bodies were defrosted. They were decomposing.” Jane Brust, vice president for marketing and communications at Pipeline Health, sent us a statement dated Jan. 14, confirming that steps were taken quickly. “New policies, protocols and training are in place at Memorial Hospital of Gardena to ensure appropriate operation of its morgue facilities,” the statement reads. “The hospital experienced overcrowding on Dec. 27 related in part to the COVID-19 surge and related deaths, along with insufficient morgue facilities inside the hospital and in a small rental unit located outside the hospital. The overcrowding situation was resolved quickly, thanks in part to cooperation from Los Angeles County and local mortuaries.” To ensure that the same issues don’t arise again, the hospital has: “Exchanged the small rented cooling unit outside for a larger unit; Implemented measures for more frequent monitoring of temperatures inside the morgue facilities; Implemented updated policies and training for hospital personnel responsible for handling decedent bodies; Implemented daily practice of evaluating needed space for decedent bodies and protocol for contacting mortuaries and/or another hospital for transfer.”