Shocking video shows coroners’ office employee dragging dead body along floor of a refrigerated truck which was rented due to lack of storage at the morgue
- Video footage shows coroners’ office officials move dead body inside truck
- Footage was filmed in parking lot of Alberta Office of Chief Medical Examiner in south Edmonton on Sunday
- Alberta’s Justice Ministry announced an investigation after video was obtained by CBC News
- Coroner said it needed to rent refrigerated trailer because there was no room to store bodies in the morgue
Canadian authorities are investigating after an Alberta funeral home employee was filmed dragging a corpse wrapped in a body bag from a refrigerated truck that was rented due to overcapacity.
Video obtained by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation shows the employee and another medical attendant moving a dead body onto a gurney from a truck in south Edmonton on Sunday.
The truck was rented and parked in the lot of Alberta’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
The coroners’ office reportedly rented the truck to address a critical shortage of space for bodies due to a sudden influx, the CBC reported on Thursday.
There were a total of 17 bodies wrapped in white bags that were placed on the floor of the truck.
In the video footage, a man dressed in a dark suit is seen dragging one of the corpses by the feet with both hands.
The man kept dragging the body on its back for a number of feet, where he and the other official tried to place it on a gurney.
He then climbs down a ladder and repeatedly tugs on the body in order to get it on top of the gurney.
At one point, the sheet falls off, but the corpse is not visible to the camera.
The two men place the sheet back over the body and wheel it away on the gurney.
After the CBC report, the provincial government’s Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General announced it was investigating.
‘Like all Albertans, I was very disturbed by what I saw in the video,’ Alberta Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer told the Edmonton Journal.
‘All Albertans, living or deceased, have the right to be treated with dignity, and any disrespect for the deceased or their loved ones is not reflective of our values.
‘I have directed my department to investigate the matter and have been assured by the Chief Medical Examiner that additional steps are being taken to ensure that the deceased are treated with the respect they deserve.’
Before the video became public, staff members at the OCME privately expressed concern about the practice of storing bodies in a trailer, the CBC is reporting.
Canadian authorities are investigating after an Alberta funeral home employee was filmed dragging a corpse wrapped in a body bag from a refrigerated truck that was rented due to overcapacity (stock image)
Footage was filmed in parking lot of Alberta Office of Chief Medical Examiner in south Edmonton on Sunday
‘I feel that this might not be something that families will find acceptable,’ one staffer wrote in a September 5 email to chief medical examiner Dr. Elizabeth Brooks-Lim.
‘How do I approach this when speaking to families?’
Brooks-Lim responded that the families of the dead did not need to be told of where their loved ones’ corpses were being held.
‘The floor is clean, the bodies will be in body bags and the families do not need to be informed of the storage procedures,’ Brooks-Lim wrote in the email.
Brooks-Lim also wrote that her office could not buy more morgue tables and that renting a trailer was the most cost effective way to deal with lack of storage space.
‘We cannot turn bodies away,’ Brooks-Lim wrote to her employees.
In a statement, the OCME said it ‘expects the removal of the deceased by funeral homes chosen by the next of kin to be conducted professionally and compassionately.’
The OCME has sent out a notice to funeral homes in Alberta that includes guidelines on handling dead bodies with an emphasis on ‘preserving the dignity of the deceased.’
Authorities in Alberta say that Edmonton in particular has experienced an ‘unusually high’ number of deaths this year.
Alberta has one of the highest rates of opioid-related deaths in Canada.
Last year, 775 Albertans – most of whom live in Calgary and Edmonton – died of an opioid-related cause.
That number represents a slight increase from 2017, when 741 Albertans died of the same cause.