The grieving family of a deceased Guyanese man say they are totally distressed, with no clear indication as to when they will receive the body of their loved one who died unexpectedly in Barbados three weeks ago.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY from her Canada home, family spokeswoman Lila Mohamed, the niece of Curtis Lindie, said she has personally had to delay her plans to travel to Guyana for his funeral with no firm word yet on when his body will be released by Barbadian authorities for burial.
Lindie, who was in his 40s, died at his St Michael home after complaining of chest pains. An autopsy was ordered, but his family still has not been told the cause of his death.
Mohamed described her uncle, who was married to a Barbadian and has two children, as a fun loving individual who lived for his family. She also said his death came as a shock and has taken a toll on the entire unit.
“My uncle was a very loving, humorous and kind man. Family was extremely important to him and the foundation of his life. He always put people first and would share whatever little he had. All of his love goes to his family, most importantly his children. He knew how to lighten any mood with his humour,” she said, adding that “he has always brought joy to those around him and has always been hardworking”.
With the entire family anxious for closure following Lindie’s untimely death on August 10, Mohamed complained bitterly about what she perceived to be the slow response by ambulance officials to his emergency call on August 10.
She also told Barbados TODAY that the pain of her uncle’s passing had been made all the more difficult by the length of time it has been taking the Coroner’s Office to sign and release his death certificate.
“When the family enquired about the autopsy report, we were made aware that autopsies are only performed on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Therefore, the following Tuesday and Thursday from the date of death would have been the 14th and the 16th of August. It is now the 30th of August and we the family are still yet to receive the autopsy results,” Mohamed said yesterday in detailing the current predicament.
She also said when they enquired about the situation, they received an email from Guyana’s Consul General in Barbados Cita Pilgrim on August 28 stating that Lindie’s body was at Waithe’s Funeral Home and that his death certificate was awaiting signature by the Coroner Office “either this afternoon or tomorrow”.
However, an upset Mohamed pointed out that “after that, the certificate goes to the registry”, adding to the delay for her family which she said has been “extremely frustrated since we are waiting to have the body transported to Guyana.
“Family members are in debt and costs keep arising from the continuous payments to the funeral home for the preservation of the body,” Mohamed told Barbados TODAY, without detailing the expenditure. However, she questioned why the autopsy, which, based on her research, usually takes less than 24 hours to perform, was taking so long to be concluded.
“The family needs answers and needs to be compensated for the inconvenience. What is the process of the Barbadian autopsy report? Why does it take so long for a coroner to sign off on a death certificate? What is causing the delay? Isn’t the autopsy supposed to be already done, due to decaying flesh? Why is it so hard for the family to get in contact with the ‘right people’? Does the Coroner know the amount of money being spent to hold the body? These are questions that should be answered,” she said.
Coroner Manila Renee is currently away on holiday and Acting Coroner Christopher Birch could not be reached for comment.
However, an official in the Pathology Department at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital explained that though autopsies are usually done within two days of a person’s death, all death certificates must be processed by the Coroner’s Office.
“If a person dies today [Friday] then by Monday the latest the autopsy would be done. We then send over the findings to the Coroner’s court and the family would have to pick up the death certificate through the Registry. After the information leaves here, I am not sure how long it takes. If the Coroner is conducting the post mortem it could be a little more complicated because they first must read up all of the information on the deceased then issue an order,” the official said.
Late this afternoon Barbados TODAY received word from Waithe’s that Lindie’s death certificate was received and that his widow had been informed of the development.
Owner of the funeral home Marvon Waithe also responded to the family’s concerns about the waiting period, saying it was not out of the ordinary nor was the associated costs.
“When a body is going through an autopsy there is a different process that has to be followed. As a matter of fact, we can’t even begin to embalm the body until the Coroner gives the go ahead. This means that the family has to bear the cost of keeping the body refrigerated. I think it is a case of them not understanding the process,” Waithe said.