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MDHHS issues emergency order on handling of bodies

Posted at 3:48 PM, May 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-04 15:48:09-04

LANSING, Mich. — Individuals now have a shorter amount of time to make a decision regarding arrangments for a deceased person.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued an Emergency Order regarding the handling of bodies Monday.

It also shortens the amount of time hospitals and funeral directors have to contact a person with authority over the disposition of a body of a deceased individual.

“The increase in deaths has placed a significant burden on the hospitals and funeral homes in our state,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “We need to alleviate this burden and ensure the safe, proper, and respectful handling of Michiganders’ remains.”

The order gives hospitals and funeral directors 24 hours to attempt to contact persons with authority over disposition of the body of a deceased individual, including family members. If no such person can be located in that time, the duty then falls to a county medical examiner.

If a person with authority over the disposition of a body is identified, they have 48 hours from the time of death to make a decision and complete arrangements regarding disposition.

Failure to act within 48 hours of notification forfeits the right to make that decision.

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