If this story turns out to be true-- it shows what an insane country we live in. The authorities continue the cover up -- and the extent of it is breathtaking.
City ghouls grab '9/11' cop corpse
Shock grieving family at wake
By LORENA MONGELLI and CHUCK BENNETT
March 30, 2011
It was the gravest disrespect for a fallen cop.
The city was so hellbent on proving that an NYPD cop didn't die of a 9/11-related illness that morgue workers were dispatched to a funeral home to take away the body while his grieving family was holding memorial services, The Post has learned.
"Ten minutes before the wake, the Medical Examiner called us and said they need to reclaim the body," said Howard Wong, 40, whose brother, George, died after a two-year battle with gastric cancer Thursday at age 48.
"The Health Department had issues with the wording on the cause of death -- that he died from exposure to 9/11 toxins -- and they ordered the Medical Examiner's Office to do it over," Wong said.
'They totally disrespected our family. Now my brother canít even rest in peace because of this.' ó Howard Wong (above, with parents), brother of deceased NYPD cop George Wong
The family was permitted to carry out the open-casket wake Monday night, but the body was taken by the ME's office around 10 p.m. -- forcing Wong's relatives to postpone yesterday's planned viewing and also delay his cremation and funeral.
"They totally disrespected our family. Now my brother can't even rest in peace because of this," the younger brother said. "I feel horrible, my mother is crying."
George Wong, who received a disability retirement in 2006 after 20 years on the force, always believed his disease was caused by his time at Ground Zero following the 9/11 attacks.
His hospice doctor, Lyla Correoso, agreed, writing "cancer" from "9/11 toxic exposure" on his death certificate.
But a Department of Health bureaucrat sounded the alarm after spotting the finding on the funeral home's cremation permit.
The city's official policy remains that there is no conclusive link between exposure to Ground Zero toxins and "emerging illnesses, including cancer," said Health Department spokeswoman Susan Craig.
Wong's furious family refused to permit an autopsy, so the Medical Examiner's Office did an "external examination," photographed the body, and changed the cause of death to "pending."
Only after any mention of 9/11 was scrubbed from his death certificate was the family allowed to collect the body yesterday
-- at their own expense. An abbreviated wake, cremation and funeral -- complete with NYPD pallbearers -- is scheduled for today.
Wong, who spent several weeks doing security after the Twin Towers fell, should be treated better by the city, his former colleagues said.
"It's reprehensible. You don't give the body back to the morgue," said a police source who knew Wong. "Even perps don't deserve this. It's about being a human being. Everyone is livid over this."
Correoso stood by her findings.
"He did so much for us and that's why it was so important for me to get this right," the doctor said. "When I asked him if he would do it [work at Ground Zero] again, he said, 'Absolutely, I would go. I'm a police officer.' "
Additional reporting by Jamie Schram