Apparently, morgues in hospitals on TV might be a far cry from reality.

Remains of person
Katarzyna Bialasiewicz

If you've ever watched enough drams on television or in movies you've probably seen a recreated morgue. There's usually a decent number of spots for the bodies to be kept.

This isn't necessarily the case at hospitals in Rockford, Illinois.

Doctor noting death certificate
Getty Images/iStockphoto

A recent news report caught my eye and I was baffled by what read about hospital morgues in the Northern Illinois area.

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This may come off as a "duh" moment but I didn't realize the system hospitals store bodies in is called a refrigeration unit. Yes, it makes complete sense I just thought there was a different system or name for it.

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Getty Images

The photo above is not a representation of the morgue at one of Rockford's hospitals and that is becoming a problem.


There's a space problem, specifically, at UW Health-SwedishAmerican HospitalHospital.

Rockford’s SwedishAmerican Hospital to Resume Elective Surgeries

It was recently revealed that SwedishAmerican only has two refrigeration units and typically reaches out to Winnebago County Coroner's office for assistance. Soon, they won't have that option, though. This problem will also affect other hospitals in the area too.

For comparison, Honquest Funeral Home of Rockford can hold 12 people.


Well, if the deceased's family hasn't made a decision for funeral services, the body must go somewhere and quickly. This place is the morgue, and when the fridge is full, there's a problem.

Confused Woman Looking In Open Refrigerator
Andrey Popov

A refrigeration unit at the morgue is not like the fridge in your home. When your fridge is too full you likely toss something and make room for whatever. You can't do that at a morgue.

Tim Honquest said in an interview that bodies are kept in the refrigeration unit for 3-4 hours before being pulled out and rotated with a body that has been sitting out for the same amount of time.

(This seems like such a weird process, doesn't it?)


The Winnebago County Coroner's office will no longer be helping with this situation if the deceased's cause/manner of death has been determined. This new policy, beginning January 1, 2022, will allow the department to operate efficiently and effectively.

Speaking of changes, check out how much downtown Rockford has changed.

Changes to downtown Rockford in a little over 10 years.

...and check out these changes we'd like to see in Rockford, in the form of businesses.

[h/t WIFR]

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