Funeral company ordered to pay damages for mishandling dead baby
KOBE — The Kobe District Court ruled Tuesday that a funeral company in Kobe must pay ¥660,000 ($6,000) in compensation parents of a baby for psychological damage caused to them when it put a plastic convenience-store bag over the head of their dead baby son during the process of handling his body after an autopsy, sources said.
The parents in Tanba, Hyogo Prefecture, had sued the company, Heian, for ¥2.2 million in damages.
According to the ruling, the five-month-old baby, the couple’s second son, died at home in October 2017. The Hyogo prefectural police conducted an autopsy and ruled that he died of natural causes. The police then entrusted the handling of the body to Heian, which covered the baby’s head with the plastic bag to prevent bodily fluids from spilling.
The company insisted it used the plastic bag under constraint because the police request came in suddenly. But the presiding judge dismissed the claim and said, “The company could have got hold of an appropriate bag.” The judge also pointed out that the company had neglected its obligations to pay the utmost care to not being disrespectful to the dead.
After the ruling was handed down, the baby’s parents held a press conference in Kobe.
“I hope the company will treat bodies with more respect so that there will never be a similar case,” the baby’s mother said.
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