Last week, the Oregon State Hospital published an online database of the names of approximately 3,500 people whose cremated remains are in its custody. It is hoped that the database will help family members claim the remains of their love ones.
Because the Oregon State Hospital had crematorium facilities, many unclaimed remains from other state institutions were sent there. The newly published list includes people who lived at the Oregon State Tuberculosis Hospital, Mid-Columbia Hospital (The Dalles), Dammasch State Hospital (Wilsonville), Oregon State Penitentiary, and Fairview Training Center and Home, as well as the Oregon State Hospital, between 1914 and the 1970s. All of these remains are stored at the hospital because they were unclaimed by family members at the time of the individual’s death.
It took an act of the Oregon Legislature to make this online list possible. Oregon law protects the privacy of those admitted to the hospital by sealing records all records for at least 75 years. While this provides protection, it has also made it difficult to get the word out about the unclaimed remains.
To read the list of names of the people whose cremated remains are stored at the hospital, go to: http://www.oregon.gov/oha/osh/Pages/cremains.aspx.
Families who identify relatives on this list should contact Medical Records Services at 503-945-2976. You can also reach Medical Records Services by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or postal mail: OSH Medical Record Services, 2600 Center St. NE, Salem, OR, 97301.
Please note, too, that families interested in claiming remains will need to provid OSH with documentation, including:
- A certified copy of the deceased patient’s death certificate, which is available from the Department of Human Services; order information is available by calling 971-673-1190 in Portland. Death certificates will be returned to the family. For information about ordering a death certificate, go to www.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/chs/order/faqs.shtml
- A signed “Authorization for Use and Disclosure of Information” form, which the hospital needs to release the ashes, records or both. The form is available on the Department of Human Services website. Search for form 2099.
- A letter providing enough information to confirm that the person making the request is related to the deceased individual.