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DMC’s Sinai Grace, Under Fire for Body Storage Photos, Says State Not Investigating

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Image credit: Photo by Olga Kononenko on Unsplash

Amid accusations of improper body storage during the pandemic, CEO Daniel Jackson says he’s not aware of any state probe into the issue, despite Gov. Whitmer’s earlier claims.

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The Detroit Medical Center’s (DMC) Sinai Grace Hospital has been at the center of national attention due to photographs that appear to show bodies stacked in storage rooms at the hospital. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer told reporters at a press conference last month that state regulators were investigating the issue.

To my knowledge, that has not been under investigation from the state.” — DMC Sinai Grace Hospital CEO Daniel Jackson.

But Sinai Grace CEO Daniel Jackson says he’s not aware of any state probe.

We have appropriately stored the bodies of deceased patients, and to my knowledge, that has not been under investigation from the state,” Jackson told WDET.


Click on the player above to hear DMC Sinai Grace Hospital CEO Daniel Jackson speak with WDET’s Jake Neher.


When contacted, the governor’s office responded by saying the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) was investigating “regulatory issue(s)” at the time, but that LARA did not investigate body storage at Sinai Grace because it does not have jurisdiction to do so.

The governor’s office said the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is working closely with Sinai Grace and other area hospitals to ensure proper storage of human remains.

MDHHS is working closely with Sinai Grace and facilities in Detroit to ensure they have appropriate space for storage of human remains.”— Tiffany Brown, press secretary for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The state has cleared Sinai Grace on regulatory complaints related to infection prevention measures and nurse staffing requirements. A Detroit nurse who was fired after posting a video on Facebook complaining about those conditions filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the hospital

Kenisa Barkai says she had threatened to inform state officials about the critical staffing shortage and has filed a whistleblower lawsuit asking to be reinstated to her job. 

LARA’s investigation found that Sinai Grace was in compliance with staffing and infection control regulations and the department issued no citations.

It’s very different than during the surge where our facility was inundated with patients. We’re not in that state, currently.” — DMC Sinai Grace Hospital CEO Daniel Jackson.

Meanwhile, Jackson says the hospital is returning to a “normal state.”

We have seen a flattening of the curve related to COVID patients and patients suspected to have COVID-19,” says Jackson. ”Our units are, I would say the right word would be a normal state, if that’s possible in a crisis. It’s very different than during the surge where our facility was inundated with patients. We’re not in that state, currently.”

Jackson says Sinai Grace has discharged 644 COVID-19 patients throughout the pandemic as of last Thursday, but did not provide numbers on how many patients the hospital is currently treating or who have died at the facility.

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Jake Neher, Producer, Detroit Today

Jake Neher is a producer and reporter for Detroit Today. He has formerly reported on the Michigan legislature.

Jake.Neher@wdet.org Follow @GJNeher

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Each week, WDET's Jake Neher and Michigan Public Radio's Cheyna Roth un-jumble Michigan issues and talk about how statewide news stories affect you. 

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