Mortuary not the place for dead bodies

There has been a churlish and frustratingly shrill article in the Sunday Star-Times, continuing the squalid tradition of that rag delivering gossip and sensationalist drivel to kiwis nationwide. The story is that Auckland Mortuary has samples of a bunch of dead people. That’s right. It is apparently newsworthy that deceased matter is being kept in a morgue.

The headline is this:

Kahui twins among remains found at mortuary

Suddenly the mind conjures up a frightful image of whole babies in jars, floating in alcohol so they won’t decompose, depriving the innocents of the dignity of being disposed of by their family. For those familiar with the case I apologise for the poor taste of the latter part of that sentence. I write in outrage over the mutilated corpse of what used to be journalism.

The headline is dead wrong, the Kahui twins are not floating in jars to be leered at by some necrophiliac coroner’s assistant, what is being kept is tissue samples. That means a little blood in a vial, and perhaps some slides of what you would only know as Kahui by the label. But I suppose the headline did its job in getting me (and presumably others) to read the article. I thank Tony Wall for using words as prostitutes, and I hope the half hour spend scribbling the piece was not instead of some other pursuit — sit ups perhaps.

The article, like much of what gets churned out by that particular publication, uses lowest common denominator tactics to cheat people into consuming its issues. But what of the cost to the Auckland Mortuary, which carries out vital research and testing of tissue samples to solve crimes. Like hospitals and medical professionals generally the Mortuary has to take the free hits rained upon it by a media that is too zealous, and too lazy.

If by chance a journalist reads this and takes offence I say to them that they shouldn’t continue to cling to an industry that is dying. Let it go and build something new. There is no certainty of a steady income, but at least you’ll have your self respect.

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