Patrick Huey, a Texas-based embalmer, recently shared his story with HuffPost:
Huey explains that, while in late 2020, “about 65%, or maybe a little less, of the bodies we were receiving had COVID,” now, “85% of the people who are coming in right now passed from COVID.” He estimates that his embalming service gets between 7 and 10 new bodies daily.
They have run out of space and must now use FEMA refrigerated trucks to store bodies. The volume is staggeringly high; combine that with Texas’ shortage of embalmers, and the result is that not all bodies at this point in time can even be embalmed.
“I don’t know how much longer I can keep working this way,” Huey says. “Although we try to distance ourselves professionally as much as possible while doing our jobs, it wears on us. There are a lot of us that definitely have some PTSD ― or just traumatic stress. It’s really, really hard.”
Readers reacted with sympathy for Huey and those in his profession.
They also reacted with rage towards those who have chosen to pretend the pandemic is not real.
Huey details how, when embalmers must turn a body over or put pressure on the chest, the lungs will often expel air. If the person has died of COVID, it will still be in their lungs. Expelled air can then infect those preparing bodies for funeral services, especially if they are not wearing N95 masks and other PPE.
He explains that at smaller, family-owned funeral homes, if someone contracts COVID, “next thing you know, their entire staff has it. [They] have to take the phone off the hook, lock doors and shut down because they don’t have anybody to run the place.”
After reading Huey’s devastating account of the situation, some Twitter users found their empathy for COVID deniers to be fully exhausted, suggesting that they be denied a traditional burial and simply cremated on the spot.
Embalmers also face the stress of having to explain to family members of the deceased why their loved ones who died in the ICU are now unrecognizable. COVID causes bodies to swell in a manner unlike anything Huey has ever seen. “The clots were the size of pancakes ― you never, never see those with someone who didn’t die of COVID. […] The sad part is … you have to explain to their family that their loved one doesn’t look anything like what they should.”
Huey strongly emphasizes that people need to get vaccinated, that a large volume of the bodies he now receives are people in their 20s and 30s, as much as the middle-aged and elderly populations. “I wish this would quit being such a political thing. The studies have shown that the vaccination works, and I wish more people would get it.”
Read the full article here.