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Temporary morgue at Beaumont's closed hospital in Wayne under investigation

beaumont hospital wayne exterior
Paulette Parker
Michigan Radio

The Wayne County Health Division wants to know more about a temporary morgue Beaumont Health has put in place at its closed hospital in Wayne. 

The county got complaints that dead bodies were being improperly stored in a warehouse at Beaumont’s shuttered Wayne hospital. Inspectors were first turned away by Beaumont because they didn’t have a warrant. Later Beaumont did allow inspectors in the building, but not into the morgue area because no personal protective equipment was available.

Bill Nowling is a spokesman for Wayne County.

“Our point is not that hospitals shouldn't be taking advantage of existing space to deal with their capacity issues. Our question is simply a public health question. Are those bodies being stored appropriately? Is it a safe and respectful environment? And are the county's health ordinances being adhered to?”

Nowling went on to explain that with the hospital closed, there are questions that need to be addressed.

“Our issue is with how that facility is being managed. Is it up to current health codes, especially given the fact that Beaumont announced last week that they were shuttering this facility? So naturally, we have some concerns about the ability to maintain it.”

He added it was unclear to the county whether Beaumont had the proper permits to establish a temporary morgue.

“We did not receive any information from Beaumont, although we asked for it, to detail who gave them permission to use that and who permitted that facility. We're still waiting to get that. So, it's still an open investigation.”

The county Health Division plans to continue its investigation and inspect the temporary morgue in the warehouse at the hospital in Wayne.

Beaumont Health has not responded to a request for comment.

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Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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