Manual Office Life (and Death)

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And I thought, I wonder how they're getting on without her? Right there and then, says Sarah, she knew that being an undertaker would give her life purpose. Today, at 33, she is one of the firm's junior partners.

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Her sisters, Catherine and Nichola, have also joined. Like her, they didn't expect to end up as undertakers. Her grandfather Stan, who joined the company in , still works part-time: He remembers the days when his grandad and uncles would prepare the coffins in the shop window: Stan — who looks exceptionally hale and hearty for 85, and says he has no intention of going himself any time soon, though of course his own funeral plans are all in place — is cheery-faced when off duty, but is practised in the sombre yet supportive demeanor that is the hallmark of his profession.

Think of an undertaker and that is the image most of us have, so how does a smiley, girl-next-door type such as Sarah fit in — and does she deal with death and bereavement in her clients in a different way because she's a woman? I think we're sometimes more compassionate, more caring," she says. Okay, respect means we transfer the body from the bed to the mortuary trolley … very carefully and slowly.

Bodies can be stored in the mortuary's fridges.

No actual dead body was filmed for this story; a medical mannequin was used. This process of care after death — the last office performed for a patient — begins with the nurses. And like the mortuary team does, they treat a body as if it were alive by, for example, apologising as they work in pairs to clean it from head to toe, so that the deceased look presentable for their families.

In the ICU, where patients generally require more life support, such as breathing tubes and arterial lines, the cleaning takes longer than in the general wards. Once a body is ready, it is wrapped in a shroud — or a body bag in infectious cases — with the legs and arms tied together to prevent movement during rigor mortis, the stiffening of the joints and muscles after death.

The last office is significant not only for a patient and the family, but also the nurses themselves, as a symbol of their final goodbye.

Death in the family – just another day at the office | Life and style | The Guardian

As Mr Moshien has also seen, closure is important. For example, if there are family members overseas, some families wait for them to return before they claim the body of their loved one. One row of body fridges. These fridges are also where unclaimed bodies can lie for up to a month. TTSH sees about nine cases a year, and its medical social workers go all out to locate the next of kin to do the last rites.

The social workers are also activated to support grieving family members and those who need financial help for the funeral arrangements.

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Mr Moshien, who liaises with the workers, cannot help but be affected by cases of unclaimed bodies. If no one comes forward, he arranges for their last rites by engaging an undertaker for the cremation — with the ashes scattered at sea by the National Environment Agency — or burial in the case of Muslims.

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A police hearse will transport these bodies, which have a yellow tag instead of the usual blue tag. The body tags come in two colours. And he is moved by their emotions at times, especially when the death was unexpected. He has also assisted the families of TTSH colleagues, for example a security officer who died of cancer.

Inside the hospital mortuary, lessons in life and death

Anything can happen any time. It was his idea for his daughter to study nursing. Write a customer review. Showing of 3 reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now.

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Please try again later. I read this in college back in the 80's But still some good info in there. True stories about corporate business in the 80s.

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It is very entertaining, but I wonder how pertinent it is to today's business environment. See all 3 reviews. There's a problem loading this menu right now.

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