Michigan official issues emergency orders for handling dead bodies


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – A new order gives individuals less time to make a decision on funeral arrangements for the deceased.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon issued the Emergency Order today.

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

Hospitals and funeral directors have 24 hours to contact “persons with authority over disposition of the body of a deceased individual”

The person has 48 hours from the time of death to make a decision on arrangements for the body or forfeits the right to make a decision after that time.

The county medical examiner takes on the responsibility if no such person(s) can be located in that time.

The order relaxes licensing provision to authorize embalming as well as allow storage of bodies at a temporary storage facility.

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