Canada: Calgary funeral home sued over body-dragging incident shown on CBC News video - - PressFrom - Canada
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Canada Calgary funeral home sued over body-dragging incident shown on CBC News video

16:01  12 november  2019
16:01  12 november  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

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A funeral home employee drags a bag containing Sather's body out of a refrigerated trailer at the OCME. (Sam Martin/ CBC ). She and a Calgary pathologist examined the body and confirmed it had not been damaged. In addition to recording the video , CBC News had also obtained internal OCME

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A security guard keeps an eye on a trailer where where bodies were reportedly stored in rented trailer as medical examiner copes with space shortage in Edmonton Alta, on Wednesday September 11, 2019. The Alberta government is investigating after video surfaced showing the medical examiner's office using a truck trailer to store dead bodies, with one corpse being roughly hauled and handled.© THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson A security guard keeps an eye on a trailer where where bodies were reportedly stored in rented trailer as medical examiner copes with space shortage in Edmonton Alta, on Wednesday September 11, 2019. The Alberta government is investigating after video surfaced showing the medical examiner's office using a truck trailer to store dead bodies, with one corpse being roughly hauled and handled.

WARNING: This story contains images/details that some may find disturbing.

A Calgary funeral home is being sued by the brother of a man whose body was dragged along the floor of a trailer parked outside the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Alberta.

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A funeral home employee drags a dead person in a body bag out of a refrigerated trailer at the Office of An investigation is underway after CBC News recorded this video showing a man dragging a (Sam Martin/ CBC ). CBC News has obtained internal OCME emails that show a staff member raised

On Monday, CBC News recorded video of a funeral home employee dragging a dead person in a body bag from the trailer, parked in a lot behind the OCME building off Belgravia Road in south Edmonton. Warning: Some viewers may find this video disturbing.

According to a lawsuit filed in Edmonton last week, Raymond Pizzey of Abbotsford, B.C., is seeking $50,000 from McInnis & Holloway Funeral Home for "significant emotional distress" he says he suffered after watching a CBC News video of the incident involving the body of his younger brother, Bryce Sather.

CBC News recorded the video Sept. 9 after receiving a tip that the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Alberta (OCME) had rented a refrigerated semi-trailer as temporary storage in response to an influx of bodies.

Sather's body was among 17 stored in white body bags in the trailer. The trailer's interior was clearly visible from a public street.

On the video, a funeral home employee grabs the foot end of the body bag with both hands and shuffles backwards, dragging the body on its back about half the trailer's length. After climbing down a ladder, the employee then repeatedly tugs on the body to slide it onto an elevated gurney as an OCME staff member watches.

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After the story appeared, the OCME installed a ramp to the trailer, and a privacy screen, and dictated that funeral homes must send at least two employees to retrieve bodies.

The lawsuit says Pizzey "first learned of the mistreatment of his brother's body by McInnis & Holloway on Sept. 27, 2019, after watching the CBC video online.

"The blatant disregard for the deceased's body caused Mr. Pizzey significant emotional distress upon reviewing the CBC recording."

Pizzey, the lawsuit states, "has begun seeing a therapist to cope with the mental distress after the traumatic incident and has been unable to sleep at night." He has also been prescribed medication.

The lawsuit further claims Pizzey lost his job after missing several days of work to deal with his mental distress.

None of the allegations contained in the lawsuit has been proven in court and McInnis & Holloway has not filed a statement of defence.

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Investigation launched

Alberta Justice, which is responsible for the OCME, launched an investigation immediately after CBC News broadcast the video. But the ministry has repeatedly refused to say when the investigation will be completed and will not confirm its findings will be made public.

Justice spokesperson Dan Laville said the investigation, in general, is attempting to establish the facts surrounding the body-dragging incident "as part of how best to ensure something like this doesn't happen again."

But CBC News has learned Alberta Justice has begun another investigation to try to catch the whistleblower who alerted CBC News to the storage of bodies in a trailer.

a man that is standing in the grass: A funeral home employee drags a dead person in a body bag out of a refrigerated trailer at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Edmonton on Monday.© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation A funeral home employee drags a dead person in a body bag out of a refrigerated trailer at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Edmonton on Monday.

The investigation is also trying to determine who leaked an internal email exchange that revealed an employee had warned Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Elizabeth Brooks-Lim about the propriety of storing bodies in a semi-trailer and how it would be perceived by families of the deceased.

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CBC News has tried repeatedly to contact the funeral home 's owner, Anthony (Tony) Facey, but he has not responded. After both bodies were taken away, funeral home staff returned to explain that Bennett's body had been mistakenly cremated.

Funeral home in receivership and under police investigation as families await return of ashes, body . Over the past few weeks, staff from the company have been meeting people at the funeral home to return ashes locked inside and even facilitate the transfer of a body out of province.

The internal emails show Brooks-Lim dismissed the concerns. She said the trailer was clean and families need not be told about the storage situation.

Pizzey told CBC News in October that the ministry's investigation should focus on how the indignity to his brother's body, and the other bodies, was allowed to happen. He also said the findings of that investigation must be made public.

Pizzey had also previously told CBC News that his 25-year-old brother Bryce Sather had spent long stretches in hospital as he struggled with kidney disease.

Having had both kidneys removed, Sather had been on dialysis for the past year and was on a transplant waiting list. He also suffered from cardiovascular disease, auto-immune deficiency and had blood clots in his feet that prevented him from working.

Sather died in his sleep at a friend's house while visiting Edmonton from Calgary. Pizzey and another younger brother had hired McInnis & Holloway to retrieve the body from Edmonton and prepare it for cremation after a ceremony in Calgary.

The lawsuit says the funeral home failed to follow OCME guidelines that required bodies to be "treated with the utmost dignity and respect."

Jeff Hagel, McInnis & Holloway's operations manager, told CBC News in October that after seeing the CBC News video, he asked the OCME to again inspect the body for damage.

No damage was found but both Hagel and Brooks-Lim decided the family must be told what had happened.

If you have any information about this story, or information for another story, please contact us in confidence at cbcinvestigates@cbc.ca

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