6/18/2010 — In response to the discovery of corpses left out of refrigeration to rot and leak in a back room of National Funeral Home in Falls Church (owned by megaconglomerate SCI), the Virginia Legislature passed a law requiring funeral homes to refrigerate or embalm bodies if more than 48 hours passes after death and before disposition. Importantly, the law bars funeral homes from embalming without the express permission of the family. This means funeral homes will have to offer refrigeration as standard practice, and won’t be able to force families to “choose” embalming in order to comply with the 48-hour rule (which unfortunately occurs in many states).
Here’s how the Washington Post described the scene at National Funeral Home back in 2009:
During his time there, Napper [a former embalmer turned whistleblower] said, as many as 200 corpses were left on makeshift gurneys in the garage, in hallways and in a back room, unrefrigerated and leaking fluids onto the floor. Some were stored on cardboard boxes or were balanced on biohazard containers. At least half a dozen veterans destined for the hallowed ground at Arlington National Cemetery were left in their coffins on a garage rack, Napper said.
– hat tip to Brian Ditzler of the FCA of Maryland and Environs for alerting us to the new law.