Immediate Burial Vs Embalming

            In most communities, human life is greatly valued and so are the means of disposing the body after death. Funeral ritual is quite important because it signifies separation, mourning of the dead and celebration of life. It is very important to the family because through it, they are able to face and realize the reality of death. There are however many ways of body disposal which are inclusive but not limited to cremation, immediate burial, embalming, direct disposal, body donation and organs or tissue donation. Although all methods are used, burial method is commonly used. However, in some instances, embalming which means temporally preserving human bodies to delay or prevent decomposition with an aim of making them suitable for display during funeral is practiced (Jaypee Brothers, Medical Publishers, Ajmani pp. 1). In other cases, once a person dies, the body is buried immediately without any other procedure. Some people prefer embalmment while others prefer immediate burial. Bent on that, this essay shall argue against embalmment in relation to the immediate burial.

Embalming is process that takes several procedures before it is complete. The first step involves preparing the body for the whole process which is closely followed by positioning the body and the facial parts in the right position that will be used for viewing during the funeral service. Arterial embalming then follows which involves injecting the embalming fluid in the arteries and draining the blood from the nearby veins. To prevent further decomposition, cavity embalming which involves sanctioning the fluid from the internal organs like the bladder or stomach is carried out. The last stage involves washing the body thoroughly and drying it to make it presentable. That is just an overview of the process since before the whole process is over, various minor steps are under taken to ensure that the body is fit for public display. As a mater of fact, those steps are not only unnecessary but they involve so many procedures that anyone close to the deceased will not want to witness. Most people have very little information about what takes place and that is why they do not hesitate to request for the service. Would they have known, majority could be reluctant to subject the body of their loved one to all the procedures. Immediate burial is not only easier, but it saves the body of the deceased much trouble which may signify the respect paid to him not only during life but also after death (Jaypee Brothers, Medical Publishers, Ajmani pp. 129).

According to the studies of Ward (p. 7-46), embalming is a costly procedure because even the present laws require that the family be contacted before the process is carried out. It is however regarded as an unnecessary expenditure and most of the funeral homes just advice or influence families towards requesting for it in order to make profits. In most cases, where immediate burial or cremation is chosen, the family is not required to pay for the extra service. Since the main aim of embalming or immediate burial is to appropriately dispose the body of the deceased, it sounds more realistic to choose the method that is cost effective as long as the method will not violate the rights of human beings. In that case, there is no reason why immediate burial should not be chosen and similarly, there are few or no reasons why people should opt for embalming.

As much as one aim of embalming is to  prevent the spread of infection during and after the burial, studies of  Creely (Para.1)  have indicate that the process carries considerable number of risks especially to the embalmers and funeral directors. Although several measures have been established to prevent infection during the process of embalming, it still considered as a great risk. Apart from that, the embalming fluid known as formaldehyde is still an environmental health hazard. In United States according to the estimates of the National Funeral Director’s Association, about two million Americans are embalmed annually. Since an adult requires 3.5 gallons of the embalmment fluid, it therefore means than about seven million gallons of formaldehyde are disposed in to the soil every year. In that case, embalming is great risk to public health since the fluid contaminates not only the soil but also the underground water. Bent on that, it therefore makes no sense to choose a method that is a health and an environmental hazard in place of other methods that may pose minimal or no such risks like the immediate burial (Chiappelli and Chiappelli, Para 8).

It is true that bodies that require to be transported over long distances for burial may require embalmment to preserve the body during transportation. However, having said that, there are efficient and effective means of transport that can be used to transport the body within the shortest time possible and save the body and the family the problem of embalming. In addition, the extra cost that is required to carry out the process of embalmment can be used to look for faster and efficient means of transport.

Embalming may therefore have some short-term benefits, but what about the long term and the short term risks? There is the extra cost of carrying out the whole procedure not to mention the risks involved. Embalmers are exposed to various risks. In addition, the fluid extracted from the dead body and the embalming fluids are dangerous health hazards. On the other hand, immediate burial is not only easier and cost effective, but it prevents majority of the risks save the fact that it signifies a natural way of disposing the body after death. No one would negate that an embalmed body may look presentable during burial, but the benefit cannot be compared to the risks involved. Moreover, the close members and friends already know the deceased person and therefore there is no much need if any of making the deceased more presentable. I therefore strongly believe that all factors taken in to consideration, immediate burial is most suitable and more desirable compared to embalming.

 

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