Morgue buys forklift truck for obese | NEWS.com.au
SYDNEY'S Glebe Morgue has been forced to buy a forklift truck to cope with obese corpses.
The proportion of obese patients requiring coronial autopsies has doubled from 15 per cent in 1986 to 30 per cent, according to a study by forensic pathologist Professor Roger Byard.
The proportion of morbidly obese corpses has increased from one to five per cent.
Glebe Morgue forensic pathologist Matthew Orde said the larger bodies were putting workers at risk of injury because they were difficult to lift, move and store.
He told The Sun-Herald that putrefaction - the degradation of soft tissue - was speeded up in morbidly obese patients, making handling difficult.
"A fat person will go off more quickly than a skinny person," Dr Orde said.
Dr Byard agrees obese patients are problematic for pathologists.
"Autopsies have been performed on floors, or with a pathologist leaning from a ladder, or actually standing on the trolley over a body," he wrote in an article in the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine.
Dr Orde said the problems facing Glebe Morgue reflected the growing incidence of obesity in the greater community.
Almost half of the NSW population was classified overweight or obese in 2005.
The state government has been forced to buy three extra-large $150,000 ambulances fitted with hydraulic lifts capable of carrying loads of up to one tonne.