A Brooklyn hospital on Tuesday resumed its use of a forklift to move the dead bodies of coronavirus victims, just hours after the shocking practice was exposed on the front page of The Post.
The red forklift was pressed back into service shortly before 11 a.m., and by 1:30 p.m. had shuttled more than 15 corpses wrapped in white sheets from the loading dock of Brooklyn Hospital Center to a refrigerated trailer parked along Ashland Place in Fort Greene.
At several points, two bodies were carried side by side on the machine’s tines.
Passerby Lydia Ramirez, 32, watched in dismay as one body was lifted up and loaded into the trailer by workers wearing protective gear.
“It’s really sad and disturbing to see. At least put up a tarp or a tent, if for no other reason than for the dignity of the deceased’s family,” she said.
“No one should see a body being loaded with a forklift on a public street.”
Three bodies were retrieved by funeral home workers who drove hearses directly up to the loading dock, but a fourth had to be retrieved from the refrigerated truck with the forklift, then loaded into a funeral home van.
The van’s driver, Richiez Funeral Service owner Irving Richiez, said he was horrified by how the hospital was handling its dead patients.
“I hate that I even have to do something like this in the middle of the street,” he said.
“For the public’s mental health, things like this should not be done in the street.”
Richiez said the hospital should have “better procedures in place for something of this magnitude.”
“Put a fence, or move the body inside the loading dock, to shield the public,” he said.
“The deceased deserve more dignity than to be on display like this.”
The use of the forklift was first revealed by a Facebook user who on Sunday posted a 5½-minute video clip while repeatedly voicing shock at what he was watching from across the street in a parked vehicle.
“Y’all, this s–t is for real,” the man exclaimed with a trembling voice.
“Sorry the camera is shaking, but this is for real, y’all, this is for real.”
A similar video, posted on YouTube, showed at least three bodies wrapped in white sheets on gurneys outside Brooklyn’s Maimonides Medical Center, along with a set of wooden stairs leading to the double doors of a refrigerated trailer.
The narrator of that 41-second clip, who appeared to be a hospital worker in protective gear, also opened up the rear of the trailer to reveal what appear to be several covered bodies on the floor near the front.
The authenticity of the video was confirmed by a spokeswoman for Maimonides, which erected a tent to prevent people from seeing bodies loaded into its trailer on 48th Street in Borough Park.
In an email, Brooklyn Hospital spokeswoman Kim Flodin said only, “We have a covering on order; we are awaiting its arrival.”