Lawsuit accuses Calif. hospital of letting dead bodies of COVID patients decompose

Lawsuit accuses Calif. hospital of letting dead bodies of COVID patients decompose

A former security guard at a California hospital has filed a lawsuit against her former employer for intolerable working conditions. She says she was ordered to clean a malfunctioning freezer filled with decomposing dead bodies.

A former lead security guard at Memorial Hospital of Gardena says that two nights after Christmas, she was ordered to handle the decomposing bodies of deceased COVID-19 patients and clean the outdoor freezer they were stored in without proper training and without adequate personal protective equipment.

“If someone in the nursing department didn’t want to touch the bodies, how am I supposed to feel safe touching those bodies?” said the security guard, who didn’t want her name used.

The security guard says she had previously told her superiors that the freezer was not cold enough and needed to be repaired. She says the mortuary would not pick up the bodies due to the condition they were in.

“It got worse and worse until now they’re just not a body no more. They’re just blood, fluids and rubbery skin,” the security guard said.

The hospital has been using the mobile freezer because its morgue can only hold up to six bodies. During the pandemic, that has been insufficient. The hospital admits it has kept bodies in the freezer for months, but it denies the bodies were mishandled or allowed to thaw out.

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