Morgue capacity issues at two Ottawa hospitals has resulted in some unusual storage solutions, with bodies reportedly being held in conference rooms, patient rooms and parts of the emergency department. According to the local health-care workers union, Ottawa Hospital's morgues are so full dead bodies are being kept in unrefrigerated rooms all over the building. 

On Tuesday morning, CBC News reported that two hospitals in Ottawa were dealing with capacity issues, resulting in a number of bodies being held in less-than-ideal conditions.

According to Lou Burri, the president of CUPE Local 4000, housekeepers and hospital staff have been caught off-guard by bodies in unexpected places which, on top of conference and emergency areas, have reportedly even included hazmat rooms. 

At the Ottawa Hospital's Civic campus, morgue issues were initially reported to the union back in December 2019 and were followed by reports of similar problems at the hospital's General campus.

CBC News’ report states that at this same time Burri first received reports of bodies being kept in unusual locations.

While December's cold temperatures managed to keep the makeshift storage rooms somewhat refrigerated, Burri told CBC News that “smell is now becoming a problem.”

Burri, who represents clerical service and support workers, including nurses, patient care assistants, housekeepers and secretaries, explained, “It's not something that they're [staff] used to seeing when they walk into a room."

"They're not very happy about it for sure," Burri told CBC News.

Ottawa Hospital did not directly respond when asked why the morgues are overflowing and where bodies are being kept.

In a statement to CBC, Ottawa Hospital said they are "working to reduce current capacity issues as quickly as possible and with the greatest of care and respect, recognizing the difficult and sensitive tasks hospital staff are involved in to manage these circumstances."

Narcity has reached out to the hospital for further clarification of this statement, and for more information regarding the alleged capacity issues. This article will be updated when a response has been received.

At the end of 2019, the Ford government committed to funding Ontario’s hospitals, allocating $175 million to 131 hospitals in the province.

The hospitals in Canada's capital will share over $14 million in funding for repairs, upgrades and maintenance, with the Ottawa Hospital gaining an allocation of more than  $7.3 million.

There are stories everywhere. If you spot a newsworthy event in your city, send us a message, photo, or video @NarcityCanada on Twitter and Instagram.


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