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Mon Sep 13, 2021, 08:53 PM

Texas Embalmer Shares Nightmare COVID Experiences: 'Unlike Anything I've Seen Before'

Not for the faint of heart.

HUFFPOST PERSONAL
09/13/2021 09:08 am ET Updated 10 hours ago
Texas Embalmer Shares Nightmare COVID Experiences: ĎUnlike Anything Iíve Seen Beforeí
ďI donít know how much longer I can keep working this way,Ē the funeral professional told HuffPost.
By Noah Michelson

snip//

Weíve just had to buckle down and do the best that we can. The internet has been a blessing because it allows all of us embalmers to communicate and find out what issues everyone is having because so much of this has been unlike anything weíve seen before. We get bodies out of ICU regularly, but not in the condition that these COVID bodies are in. Theyíre tremendously swollen. If theyíve been on a ventilator, that often completely runs down their immune system. It also opens them up to a lot of sepsis and secondary infections that tend to hang around hospitals, like penicillin-resistant staph infections.

These folks were so swollen they were completely unrecognizable. We were also getting sent a lot of people who had died from COVID in nursing homes back at that time, and many of them had not been dead very long at all. Generally when we embalm, we utilize a major artery to inject the embalming fluid and we use its adjoining vein for drainage. The blood tends to settle out because itís no longer flowing and itíll gravitate to the dependent part of the body. The longer a body sits, the more blood clots that they develop. I was having people that had only been dead for a few hours and there were major clotting issues. The clots were the size of pancakes ― you never, never see those with someone who didnít die of COVID.

Iíve been doing this for 30 years and pretty much everywhere Iíve worked has been medium to high volume. Iím not one of those embalmers that works at a place that just does 50 or 60 bodies a year. So Iíve done this long enough and Iíve seen enough that I would know when something different pops up. COVID is unlike anything Iíve seen before.

Many of the people who were in the ICU were on ventilators, and they put adhesive patches on their cheeks. They can easily become septic and they drip that septic saliva on the sides of their faces and the skin in that area gets infected. We were literally receiving bodies with huge lesions on their cheeks or [patches that had gone] gangrene. The sad part is the families of these people, at that point, hadnít been allowed to see their loved ones during the several weeks that they were in the ICU. So the body comes out in an almost unrecognizable condition, and then you have to explain to their family that their loved one doesnít look anything like what they should.

Despite the fact that I specialize in postmortem reconstruction ― accidents, trauma, stuff like that ― when the bodies are that swollen, there is very little I can do to eliminate that. And for a lot of these families, itís just a tremendous shock. Iíve had husbands and wives die within days of each other. Iíve seen entire families wiped out. Itís horrible.

more...

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/texas-covid-embalmers-patrick-huey_n_612feb0be4b0aac9c012139c

22 replies, 3472 views

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Arrow 22 replies Author Time Post
Reply Texas Embalmer Shares Nightmare COVID Experiences: 'Unlike Anything I've Seen Before' (Original post)
babylonsister Sep 2021 OP
multigraincracker Sep 2021 #1
FakeNoose Sep 2021 #5
napi21 Sep 2021 #2
ALBliberal Sep 2021 #17
MustLoveBeagles Sep 2021 #3
AllyCat Sep 2021 #16
napi21 Sep 2021 #4
yonder Sep 2021 #6
Farmer-Rick Sep 2021 #7
IronLionZion Sep 2021 #18
orleans Sep 2021 #21
GulfCoast66 Sep 2021 #8
yellowdogintexas Sep 2021 #15
calimary Sep 2021 #19
riversedge Sep 2021 #9
Traildogbob Sep 2021 #10
ellie Sep 2021 #11
spanone Sep 2021 #12
Pepsidog Sep 2021 #13
MissB Sep 2021 #14
calimary Sep 2021 #20
nitpicker Sep 2021 #22

Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 09:01 PM

1. Cremation with in 24 hours of death

would make a good law. IF it violates your religious beliefs, to bad.

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Response to multigraincracker (Reply #1)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 09:19 PM

5. Also forego the traditional viewing/wake at the funeral home

Have a memorial service instead where the body is not on display. A memorial is often done after the burial or cremation, sometimes even several week later. That's a good helpful thing for the family, and for friends who need to travel long distances to attend.

The rules and customs regarding funerals have changed quite a bit in the last 1.5 years.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 09:07 PM

2. You realize just how bad the effects of this virus are when you hear an undertaker voice its worse

than anything he's seen before. To me, it seems the undertaker should speak to the family before he embalms the body & explain what the problems are & what he can & can't do. I think the shock & surprise of seeing their loved one look so different than they remembered is worse than hearing it up front.

Until I read this post, I never gave it a thought that the body would be so adversely affected.

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Response to napi21 (Reply #2)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 11:52 PM

17. Apparently the undertaker specializes in embalming

Bodies resulting from trauma (car crashes and so on). So heís seen a lot! Nothing like this however.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 09:08 PM

3. Thank you for posting this

I've read extensively about the hell that medical personal have gone though. I hadn't given much thought to what those in the funeral industry are dealing with.

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Response to MustLoveBeagles (Reply #3)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 11:44 PM

16. Cannot imagine telling a grieving family

They may not want to see their loved one. I think of all the workers who will have PTSD after this is over. I hope it is over at some point.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 09:09 PM

4. I just thought of something else. Are the undertakers at risk of getting infected with the virus

from remaining virus cells in the bodies they must prepare?

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Response to napi21 (Reply #4)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 09:24 PM

6. Another DU post today said they are in full PPE

just to administer hazardous embalming fluid. I don't know if that protection extends to infectious agents from the body itself.

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Response to napi21 (Reply #4)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 09:40 PM

7. Yes, the virus can still survive in dead bodies.

Like most pandemics, bodies of the victims are still contagious after death.

But since the bodies don't breath, airborne transmission is not likely.

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Response to napi21 (Reply #4)

Tue Sep 14, 2021, 02:38 AM

21. the author wrote this

"weíre wearing our standard personal protective equipment and taking extra precautions ― keep our faces covered and doing whatever we can to keep our risks as low as we possibly can. As far as handling the body goes, if you roll the body, if you put pressure on the chest, thereís the chance of expelling air from the lungs."

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 09:45 PM

8. I was not a harsh guy before Covid, although I had my moments

Now Iím just course.

The funeral homes should offer to let the dead personís loved ones view the body. I would. Warm them ahead of time, of course. Let them choose.

Cold? Maybe. Cruel? You could make the argument.

But hiding what death by Covid looks like is just dishonest and counterproductive.

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Response to GulfCoast66 (Reply #8)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 11:35 PM

15. many people (especially immediate family) want to view the body even if cremation is planned

or a closed casket. It seems closed caskets, memorials after the burial/cremation are more and more common and the open casket less common.

If someone has the guts to do it, then they have the right to view the remains of their loved one but not without being told what to expect

My grandmother always wanted to see the body and if one of us went to a funeral or visitation her first question was "Did you see the body?"

My dad suicided by gun. The only person who saw him afterwards was my mother. She went in to the treatment room at the ER and when she came out she told us not to go in.
There was no way she was going to let us do that unless we insisted. The casket was closed at the funeral.

As for me I am donating my body to science.

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Response to yellowdogintexas (Reply #15)

Tue Sep 14, 2021, 01:38 AM

19. I've thought of doing that myself.

One way to make sure youíre dead before youíre fully dispensed with.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 10:27 PM

9. so so so sad and horrible for the families.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 10:35 PM

10. At this rate

Of death and climbing, I believe we may run out of buried sites. Cremation may be the only option. If that offends religious folks, tough, they all claimed Jesus would save them. Mass burial for those. Instead of freezer trucks, bring in fire chambers on wheels.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 10:52 PM

11. I could not

read that whole article. Good lord.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 10:56 PM

12. K&R

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 11:10 PM

13. Maybe this guy should be interviewed for Fox. My mother died 15 years ago from a botched heart stent

procedure. She was bleeding in the recovery room and was on a trial blood thinner. Long story short, they knocked something during the procedure and the blood thinner they used couldnít be easily reversed with a shot of Vitamin K. She ended up after several days with sepsis that eventually shut down her organs. When we went into the hospital room to say our goodbyes before we turned off the ventilator I was shocked. She was swollen up like a balloon ready to pop. I barely recognized her. She was 65 years old and this was her first health scare and it was just a stent for 1 artery that was suppose to be routine. I feel very sorry for the families. Maybe they should show these dead bodies on tv shock some sense into the anti-vaxers. And of the people who died were anti-vaxers well thatís just too bad. I have no sympathy for them.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 11:13 PM

14. My mother's husband was cremated within 24 hours of dying from covid last week.

Yes, he was on a vent for a bit more than a week and his body was quite swollen.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Tue Sep 14, 2021, 01:40 AM

20. Brutal.

Sometimes, reality just IS.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Tue Sep 14, 2021, 07:19 PM

22. IMO, it's bad enough just seeing grey cold embalmed bodies

I can/can't think what this guy is experiencing.

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