What Is a Morgue?

July 6, 2018

What is a morgue? A mortuary, or a morgue, is the place where your dead body goes before burial or cremation.

The first morgue opened in 1866 in New York. Sometimes a corpse requires identification.

A photograph does identifications, but if one is not available, then a family member needs to make an identification at the Medical Examiner’s office at the morgue. That is not always pleasant.

Some of the better morgues have a grief counsellor to handle these situations.

Not Every Morgue Works the same Way

What is a MorgueDifferent mortuaries have different practices and also various facilities for families. Some families sit with their dead family member for a while.

For health and safety reasons, others may only view their loved one behind a glass screen. Some people arrive at the mortuary after the death of someone in an accident and do not have permission to stay with the deceased without the coroner’s officer.

Sometimes family may to touch a body in a morgue while sometimes you may not have authorisation to touch a body in a morgue.

What is a morgue worker?

There are some different people who work in morgues. Many hospitals have a morgue, and the size of these usually depends on the hospital or the location. Different tasks occur in a morgue. For instance, there are people who remove organs for autopsies.

Some Bodies Undergo an Autopsy

A forensic morgue attendant will receive, store and release bodies which are there for autopsies. These autopsy sites have to be cleaned and sanitised. Of course, all this is done under the supervision of a coroner. The coroner always oversees autopsies and tests relating to a death investigation.

It goes without saying that a morgue smells terrible – after all, it is a place of death and decay, but for the people who work there, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, it is not a health hazard.

Different Temperatures ward of Decomposition

Mortuaries have different temperatures, and you will find a positive temperature. That is where bodies remain at temperatures between 2 °C and 4 °C. Even though these temperatures will keep a body ‘intact’ for some weeks, decomposition does set in.

With a negative temperature, bodies stay at −10 °C and −50 °C. This is mostly at forensic institutes, and the body then stays completely frozen so that decomposition is dramatically reduced.

The Body may be Embalmed

There are some countries where refrigeration is unnecessary as the body of the deceased is embalmed before disposal. Embalming a body includes adding chemicals and preservatives which delay decomposition and gives the body a more natural look. This is particularly attractive for funeral service where viewing of the body is on the agenda.

What is a morgue?

Morgues have changed over the years, and today some forensic centres have some autopsy stations. You will find one for infectious diseases and another for babies etc. Powerful surgical lights allow people to work with and identify bodies to find out how they died.

You’ll hear morbid, funny and far-fetched stories about morgues, but the truth is, we’re all going to pass away and have no say. What is a morgue? Now you know!

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All info was correct at time of publishing