A mortuary is a facility that offers autopsy, embalming services and basic burial or cremation. Unlike funeral homes, a standalone mortuary won’t sell memorial products or offer services surrounding the service.

Most of us have seen depictions of mortuaries in movies or TV shows, but it’s important to understand what they really do.


Often found in hospitals, morgues are used for the temporary storage of bodies that need to be inspected, identified or removed for autopsy. They also play a vital role in forensic investigations and are an essential part of the funeral process for many people.

For this reason, it’s important to ensure that you’re using cadaver bags that are durable enough to last throughout the duration of your mortuary’s operations. This will help reduce the risk of infection and ensure that your facility’s cadaver bag supply is always ready to go.

The quality of insulation in a mortuary cooler can also make a big difference in how much energy it uses to keep its contents cold. Flexmort’s range of mortuary coolers feature high-quality insulation that decreases energy usage and provides greater thermal efficiency. This results in lower operating costs for your mortuary.


The manner in which a body is retrieved from the scene of death and handled during transport to the mortuary can alter its appearance and influence the evaluation and interpretation of injuries by the forensic pathologist. It is therefore important that all police members and body transporters are familiar with the handling procedures required for a forensic body.

The position and integrity of extracorporeal material should be maintained (eg ligature in case of hanging). An independent person should witness the removal of clothing and property and document this. Property exhibits should be accounted for by the property manager, and an audit trail maintained.

The identification process is an essential step in the forensic processing of deceased persons, and is critical to the provision of a high standard of service for victims’ relatives. The ID Unit at Johannesburg Forensic Pathology Services medico-legal mortuary is a unique supplementary service and pilot project that brings together police, forensic pathology services and university staff to facilitate the identification of unidentified deceased.


Cremation is a common choice for many people who wish to honor their loved ones in a way that suits them best. Unlike burial, cremation can be planned in advance, and the process itself is less complicated, which allows families to focus on their personal needs and preferences.

After a time of preparation, the body is placed in a temporary container and placed into a furnace — called a retort — where it’s exposed to intense heat that reduces everything down to bone fragments. The remaining ashes can be kept in an urn, scattered on private property or buried in a cemetery plot. Often, memorial services are held a little bit later after the cremation, and that gives family members and friends more time to adjust to their loss and begin the healing process.


Burial is the disposal of human remains in a grave or tomb, often with the intention of returning the body to earth. The method of burial can offer insight into the beliefs, values and social systems of a culture; for example, certain cultures discourage the consumption of corpses by scavengers.

Whether the burial is elaborate or simple, many believe that burial provides closure and allows for healthy mourning. Some communities may struggle to maintain adequate cemetery or burial grounds, however.

It is important to understand the difference between a morgue and a funeral home, as there are misconceptions surrounding the terminology. Funeral homes that use the term mortuary, such as Myers Mortuary in Michigan and Hart’s in Georgia, have cited their firm’s history with the word as the reason behind their choice of nomenclature. Many have also noted that they believe the word mortuary helps to dispel the myth of a sterile and uncaring business.

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