Corpse Marred by Kaiser's Lack of Refrigeration, Family Claims
OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) – Kaiser did not properly refrigerate a man’s body and it decomposed substantially by the time it arrived at the funeral home, his children claim in Alameda County Superior Court.
Corey, Lorenzo, Latrice, Brittney, and Lorenzo Grayson Jr. sued Kaiser Permanente and Bay Area Cremation & Funeral Services Inc. and other involved companies on behalf of their late father, Larry Grayson, who was 68 when he died of a heart attack at the Kaiser Richmond Medical Center July 14, 2015.
Since the morgue at the hospital was full and the family had not yet arranged a mortuary, Kaiser called Bay Area Cremation to transport the man's body to a holding facility in Redwood City and then to the Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland, according to the complaint.
The family claims their father’s body already showed signs of damage when the transport company picked it up later that day because the hospital did not properly refrigerate it.
No one involved in the body’s transport from the hospital to the chapel bothered to inspect the body until a day later when an embalmer at the chapel discovered that it was in very poor condition, according to the complaint.
Among other things, their father’s body "emitted extremely offensive, strong, obnoxious and nauseating odors; its face was swollen and disfigured; its skin was loosening from the frame; and fluids were leaking from his nose and mouth," the family says.
“It looked as if decedent had been dead for a month instead of just a day,” the complaint states.
None of the defendants warned the family that their father’s body was so decomposed that it was barely recognizable, causing them to suffer additional shock, mental distress, and anguish during an already tragic time, according to the complaint.
The family claims Kaiser should have known that failing to refrigerate the body would cause it to prematurely decompose and decay before it arrived at the funeral home.
They seek general, special, and punitive damages for negligent mishandling of a corpse and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
They are represented by Kathryn Stebner of San Francisco and co-counsel Craig Needham with Needham, Kepner & Fish of San Jose.