Funeral Consumers Alliance

 
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As both a licensed funeral director/emba

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As both a licensed funeral director/embalmer and a certified crematory operator as well I cannot stress enough the immense amount of liability that is involved regarding proper identification of deceased prior to final disposition, most especially when cremation is chosen. We funeral practitioners have no way of knowing that a body we remove from a hospital, nursing home, medical examiner's office, etc. is actually that of said deceased, unless in a healthcare setting the family happens to be there at the time of removal. I would by all means ask for at least a photo for staff to make positive identification with, otherwise if family refuses to ID the body, then by all means out with the indemnification form for them to sign. Yes, there have been institutions that have mis-labeled bodies that were then cremated without a family member's positive ID. Not only was the responsible institution sued, but both the funeral home and crematory both as well. Unfortunately we live in a society that revels in lawsuits. This can ruin a funeral home instantly as well as place undue anguish on a family. It is an unfortunate fact that all these various indemnification forms are a must now, but one lawsuit is all it takes to ruin a firm and its employees. For my own sake, the families I serve, that of my employer, as well as those that depend on me to keep food on the table, I do all I can to protect all involved regardless of whether a family does not like said indemnification form.
 

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