After recently losing her father to COVID-19, a Maltese woman was shocked after realising her family is being made to foot the bill for his post-death fumigation and the “packing” of his body.
The woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, showed Lovin Malta a burial invoice of €972.60 she received from the undertaker, which includes €70 in “packing and fumigating” of the body which took place at Mater Dei.
She said the undertaker informed her family that Mater Dei had charged them for this and that they were charging the family in turn.
After receiving this bill, she contacted Health Minister Chris Fearne through his Facebook account, only to be told that the authorities had nothing to do with the undertaker’s bill.
“It’s completely inhumane and shameless,” the woman said. “Surely the government should have paid for my father’s fumigation.”
“We’re already sad enough as it is after losing my father and now we received this bill as though we ordered something from DHL,” the victim’s daughter said. “I know I cannot bring my dad back but this is inhuman.”
Former Superintendent of Public Health Ray Busuttil recently warned that Malta’s protocols for burying COVID-19 victims, which include wrapping their coffins in plastic and clothing the people handling the coffin in Hazmat suits, are over the top and disrespectful towards the deceased.
“What an unnecessary charade! It is disrespectful, stigmatising and degrading for the deceased person, not to mention the pain and heart break it causes for an already devastated family,” Busuttil wrote. “The only positive outcome from it all is an additional payment to the undertaker!”
Lovin Malta has reached out to the Health Ministry but they weren’t immediately available for comment.
Cover photo: Left: A funeral of a COVID-19 victim in Malta recently published by Ray Busuttil; Right: The Addolorata Cemetery