A funeral parlour in Milan came up with an unusually callous way of drumming up business, so unusual that it caught the eyes of the Italian authorities.
The scheme caught my little eye as an example of abject callousness, and an instance of just how low people can sink in order to fill their bank accounts. That people can even think up such a scheme reflects sadly on Italian society, indeed, it probably reflects badly on society in general.
A Trying Time
Death, as many will know, is a sad and traumatic business. When people leave this earth, those around the recently departed need to be treated gently and left to come to terms with their loss. Even the death of those considered to be the baddest of the bad will leave someone somewhere grieving, be it a mother, wife or child.
Dealing in Death
However here in sunny Milan, one funeral parlour decided that death presented a golden business opportunity and did everthing they could to get to ‘process’ that dead body.
This cold hearted scheme worked like this. First someone identified a reliable source of death, in this case two of the largest hospitals in Milan – Niguarda and San Paolo. All that remained was to recruit a couple of nurses without scruples to act as a form of sales rep, which was done.
Then, while the body of the dearly departed was cooling on the mortuary slab, the grieving relatives would be approached by one of the moonlighting nurses working in the hospital in which the death had occurred. The black nurse would then, acting in his capacity as a form of representative for his ’employer’, try on a little cold sell and do his best to point the relatives towards the undertakers who were paying said nurse a form of macabre commission. Certain nurses went a step or two further and attempted to discover which patients were near to death and pass their names on to their sponsors in the hope that they would receive compensation.
DRP – Death Related Pay
The backhanders paid to nurses amounted to around 250 Euros for each ‘lead’. On occaisions the nurse reps performance was rewarded with tickets to football games.
Stop reading, start speaking
Stop translating in your head and start speaking Italian for real with the only audio course that prompt you to speak.
The entrepreneurs behind this dark hearted plan were as cold as the bodies in which they dealt, indeed, in one of the intercepted conversations one merchant of death was heard to utter “Isn’t there anything to do today? Not even half a foetus?”. Jeepers, talk about respect for human life. Not.
The vultures’ intention was to hover around and obtain information on recent departures, so as to get in first and in so doing, ensure that the burial would be handled by their particular undertaking firm.
Whether the bodies were adults or children mattered not a jot to these people. They sought to grab a piece of the action before another company got in there first.
Books recording the numbers of bodies dealt with by the undertaking firm which had been paying off nurses were then cooked to ensure that suspicions were not raised as a result of someone discovering that a certain company seemed to be handling the lions share of the funeral business generated by the hospitals in which the vultures were operating.
The Next Step?
One supposes that the next step would have been to provoke a death or two to keep profitablilty levels up. Chilling.
Luckily we shall never know what the next step in this macabre business plan would have been, as the police got in their first and collared around 40 people. The full extent of this plot is still to be revealed as the first reports only came out in the newspapers last week.
Actually, it would not be surprising to learn that the company behind this unscrupulous scheme may have been working with the doctors who ran a noted private clinic here in Milan about which I wrote in my ‘A Neat Idea for A Horror Movie?‘ post.