GARDENA (CBSLA) — A former security guard at Memorial Hospital of Gardena has filed a lawsuit against her former employer for intolerable working conditions after she was ordered to clean a malfunctioning freezer filled with decomposing dead bodies.
She is seeking compensation for emotional trauma and adverse health consequences.READ MORE: Injured Hiker Rescued From Temescal Gateway Park
“If someone in the nursing department wasn’t comfortable touching these bodies, how am I supposed to feel safe touching these bodies,” said the security guard who did not want her name used.
The former security guard claims that she alerted her superiors about the broken freezer multiple times before they sent an engineer to examine it. The hospital admitted they had stored bodies in the freezer for months but denies the corpses were mishandled.
Although her superiors claimed that the freezer was not malfunctioning and was in fact working fine, she watched as the bodies continued to rot.
“It got worse and worse until now they’re just not a body no more,” she said. “They’re just blood.”
After both the nursing department and a mortuary refused to move the bodies out of the freezer, management turned to the security guards.READ MORE: Body Found On 101 Freeway
“The mortuary that picked up the bodies didn’t want to pick up the bodies due to the condition that they were in,” she said.
According to the former security guard, on Dec. 27 she and her fellow security guards were ordered by their superiors to handle the decomposing bodies in the malfunctioning freezer outside the hospital. They were tasked with not only cleaning the freezer, that the decomposing bodies were leaking fluids into, but also re-wrap them and place them back inside the freezer — all without proper training and without adequate personal protective equipment, according to the former security guard. When she refused to touch the rotting bodies, her bosses took disciplinary action.
“We did get threatened,” she said. They said we were on a 30 days notice due to the fact that we didn’t touch the bodies.”
CBSLA’s helicopter caught the moments the security guards that were tasked with moving the bodies emptying the freezer.
“The supervisor was accusing my client and her co-workers of being lazy,” said the woman’s attorney Jonathan Roven, who filed the civil lawsuit on her behalf. “A lot of times companies try to cut corners and place the blame on the wrong people.”
Roven, from Johnny Law, said the hospital should have immediately obtained a replacement freezer and hired trained medical professionals to handle the bodies properly.
“They didn’t care about my safety,” she said before she eventually resigned out of respect for herself and the dead patients.MORE NEWS: One Dead, One Injured In Hawthorne Motorcycle Crash
“It wasn’t right these are people’s loved ones,” she said.