The body of a New York policeman was seized by city officials as his friends and relatives tried to hold memorial services. Health officials took the body because they were determined to prove he did not die of 9/11 related illnesses.
Officials from the Medical Examiner’s office informed relatives they were taking the body of George Wong just ten minutes before his wake.
Wong died of gastric cancer at the age of 48, a cancer he believed was caused by his two weeks serving at ground zero following the 9/11 terrorist attack.
Prior to the seizing of the body, Wong’s death certificate said he died of an illness caused by 9/11 toxins. The New York Post reported however city offices have reworded the document.
Members of the family said they feel completely disrespected by the city. They have now been forced to postpone a viewing, the cremation and the funeral.
“They totally disrespected our family. Now my brother can’t even rest in peace because of this,” Howard Wong, George Wong’s brother told the New York Post. “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’s doctor, Lyla Correoso, argued the cause of death was, as she initially indicated, cancer from 9/11 exposure.
“He did so much for us and that’s why it was so important for me to get this right,” she said.
The city argued that no conclusive link between 9/11 toxins and cancer exists, thus there is no way 9/11 exposure could have caused the death.
The city has not amended the cause of death to read “pending.” All mention of 9/11 has been removed from any documentation.
“It’s reprehensible. You don’t give the body back to the morgue,” a police source said. “Everyone is livid over this.”