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Three Unclaimed Corpses Have Been Left Forgotten At Mater Dei Hospital’s Mortuary

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Three corpses have been left unclaimed within Mater Dei Hospital’s mortuary.

The bodies, which have been identified, were never claimed, with no one taking on the responsibility to bury them. In these cases, if enough time passes – typically months – a process referred to as the “funeral of the poor” begins.

In this case, a family without the funds to pay for a funeral or who is not interested in organising a funeral, as well as those that are not identified, are buried by the state.

18 funerals of the poor have been held in Malta in 2021 – and in a new interview with TVM, Mater Dei Hospital Mortuary Manager, David Grima explained what happens during this process.

“An unclaimed body occurs when the deceased person is not claimed by family or friends interested in performing the funeral rite, for a two month period,” he said.

Referring to the three unclaimed corpses currently in Mater Dei, Grima said their identities were known, with all three being elderly Maltese people.

Mater Dei Hospital Mortuary

Mater Dei Hospital Mortuary

“Usually they are either single people: bachelors, spinsters who have no acquaintances at all, or there are circumstances where we are unable to reach family members.”

If a body remain unclaimed for two months, notifications are sent out to the person’s final address, and messages are sent to their parishes in an effort to find someone who can organise the funeral.

Five months on from the death, a notification is published in the Government Gazette, and ten days later the state will begin organising the burial.

In 2021, two people were buried after this lengthy process and the other 16 were buried with less time elapsing. 80 occurred in the last five years.

“People are often known but relatives either do not want to carry out the funeral or do not have the financial means to do so,” Grima said.

“They fall in the same category as people who can’t be identified and who are going through the forensic process, for example immigrants who have drowned. When we have taken DNA samples, have a DNA profile and the Magistrate is satisfied and closes the investigation, basically the funeral can take place. ”

Had you ever heard of this happening in Malta before?

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Johnathan is interested in the weird, wonderful, and sometimes dark realities late capitalist society forces upon us all. He also likes food and music. Follow him at @supreofficialmt on Instagram, and send him news, food and music stories at [email protected]

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