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Australian hospital rejects 440-pound body from morgue for being 'too fat'

Funeral director Joanne Cummings had to keep the body in her hearse overnight.
By Evan Bleier   |   June 19, 2014 at 8:43 AM   |   Comments

PORT HEDLAND, Australia, June 19 (UPI) -- The 440-pound body of a man was rejected from a morgue at an Australian hospital for being "too fat" after a funeral director had driven more than two hours with the deceased in her hearse.

Joanne Cummings drove the body to the Hedland Health Campus in Port Hedland while blasting her air conditioning to keep the corpse cool and then had to go right back.

"I actually had to turn around and drive two hours home to Roebourne and keep him in my car overnight," Cummings told Australia's ABC.

According to Cummings, Hedland Health Campus rejected a 550-pound body last year. HHC staff apparently don't mince their words.

"(A member of staff) walked out and looked at this gentleman in the back of the car and said: 'He's too fat, he can't go in the fridge'," Cummings told the North West Telegraph.

"I could probably put a baby elephant in one of those fridges and it'd fit through the door, and they're refusing entry for a human being. My issue is if that was your father, mother, partner... you wouldn't want them refused entry into the mortuary."

WA Country Health Service regional director Ron Wynn said the hospital may look into installing equipment that can store larger bodies.

"It is imperative that at all times a deceased person is treated with the utmost care and respect and viewings are arranged so as not to cause distress and inconvenience to grieving families," Wynn said in a statement.

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