Morning everyone! I stumbled upon this on MSN News. Read on.
Two mortuary workers were detained and two senior hospital staff were sacked in eastern China after the bodies of at least 21 infants and foetuses were found in a river, state media reported Tuesday.
At least eight bodies had tags indicating they were from the hospital of Jining Medical University in Shandong province, Xinhua news agency reported.
Authorities were quoted by Beijing News saying the corpses could have been those of aborted foetuses or babies who had died of illness. They were found on the outskirts of the city of Jining.
Xinhua quoted a spokesman for the city government as telling reporters that two mortuary workers had been sacked in connection with the incident and were in police custody.
Naming the two workers as Zhu Zhenyu and Wang Zhijun, Xinhua quoted the spokesman as saying that the two had been paid to dispose of the bodies.
"Investigations by police and health authorities show that Zhu and Wang had reached verbal agreements privately with relatives of the dead babies to dispose the bodies and charged fees," the spokesman, Gong Zhenhua, said.
"They subsequently transported the bodies secretly to the Guangfu River, but they had failed to bury the bodies completely," he was quoted as saying.
The river was not a source of drinking water for the city and municipal tests found it had not been contaminated, Xinhua reported.
Two senior officials, Li Luning and He Xin, director and deputy director of the hospital's logistics department, were removed from their posts, and a vice president of the hospital, Niu Haifeng, was suspended, Gong said.
The incident exposed "a serious loophole in the hospital's management and indicates a lack of ethics and legal awareness of some hospital staff," Gong said. "It exerts a very negative impact on society and teaches us a profound lesson."
He said the city government had ordered health authorities to immediately launch a general overhaul of body treatment at all local hospitals.
The 21 baby bodies had been cremated, Xinhua reported, quoting Gong. One of the bodies had been bundled into a plastic bag marked "hospital waste", Beijing News said.
Abortion is common in China, where at least 13 million births are terminated every year, due in part to the nation's so-called "one-child policy," which limits most urban couples to just one offspring.
The family-planning rules are widely blamed for fuelling abortions of female foetuses in China, where boys are traditionally favoured.
Reports of poor treatment of patients -- both living and dead -- in China's underfunded hospitals are also not uncommon.
Last June, a hospital in central China's Hubei province was found to have dumped the bodies of two adults and six aborted foetuses at a construction site after failing to locate relatives of the dead, state media reported.
A bag containing severed human limbs was also discovered in the case, in the city of Xiangfan.
By Agence France-Presse