Four persons abandoned at the mortuary will be granted a pauper’s funeral
In the coming days, the health authorities are expected to hold a pauper’s funeral to four persons, three of whom have a Maltese identity card and their corpses have been abandoned at the mortuary for over two months.
Pathology department director at Mater Dei, Dr Christopher Barbara, said that the hospital’s authorities do their utmost to identify the victims’ relatives before a pauper’s burial is made, although he stressed that this is carried out in the most dignified way.
During the past three years, 42 persons were left abandoned by relatives at the mortuary and were not taken for burial. In such cases the Health Department organizes a pauper’s burial. Five of such funerals were carried out this year, while in 2017 there were 16 and 21 in the previous year.
Through a notification in the Government Gazette, the Health Department announced that within 10 days, the burial will be held of four men who were left abandoned at the mortuary. Three of the men who were not granted a funeral by their families are Nazzareno Bartolo, Peter Cilia and Peter Charles Cotton and a foreigner named as Bhagwani Kirpalani.
Dr Christopher Barbara told TVM that a procedure exists when a family doesn’t show interest to have a private burial.
“The process is that we keep the body in dignity for a period of two months. Following all the efforts to contact the families to inquire about their views, we send them a formal registered letter in the third month”.
Dr Barbara said that in such cases, the authorities assume the responsibility for burial arrangement, which is carried out in a common part at the Addolorata cemetery.
“A Mass is celebrated by the parish where the person lived and anyone may attend. We make a research to inquire where the body may be buried and normally, those without a tomb will be have a common burial”.
The Pathology Department’s head stated this is a heartbroken ceremony. “Especially when the persons are parents and had spent their entire life caring for their children. There are cases where someone gets older and relatives lose interest in the person and this continues even after death”.
In the case of foreign corpses, Dr Barbara said that contacts are made with embassies or consuls of the person’s nationality. If no identification is made, the burial is carried out in Malta.