NOEL IYOMBWA writes
A FAMILY of Lusaka had the shock of their lives after they discovered their relative was buried by another family.
Moses Chanda explained that the family went to pick the body of his father for burial but when they reached the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) mortuary they discovered that he had been buried the previous day.
The family was devastated with the development and wanted to sue the other family but following mediation by UTH management a compromise was reached that saw the body exhumed and a family burial took place.
However, the two families are yet to meet with hospital management to establish what transpired on that particular day.
A family member says they expect a proper explanation as to how their relative was identified by a family despite there being a name tag.
He also wondered why the other family failed to identify their own family member.
A UTH Mortuary superintendent, who chose to remain anonymous, said it was a very unfortunate case of mistaken identity because the hospital allows four people to identify a deceased loved one before the body is released.
“Unfortunately, last Wednesday one family came to pick up a body for burial, and based on the information from the ward and their positive identification, the body was released,” he said.
He said that the following day another family came to pick up the body but it was discovered that the body was not in the mortuary.
“As a hospital we allow four people to identify a body so on Tuesday a family came to pick up a body and they identified it, unfortunately on Thursday another family came to pick their beloved one but we looked for it but we did not find it that is how we followed up in the ward and discovered that the two were in the same ward with beds next to each other and they died on the same day.
“That is how we discovered that the other family mis-identified the body, the two were both in their 70s and died on the same day.
He explained that the hospital took care of the cost to exhume the body and reburied it.
“As UTH we are here for the people, so we supported both families, the other body was exhumed and brought back to UTH. We provided financial support to both families,” he said.
And UTH public relations officer Natalia Mashikolo has advised the general public to send correct people to identify bodies at the mortuary to avoid such incidences.
She said that some people are scared to enter the mortuary hence they send other people to identify bodies of their beloved ones.
“It was not about UTH losing a body it was a matter of misidentifying the body so my appeal to the general public is that you should be sending the right people to identify bodies because workers cannot refuse if you say this is your relative they depend on relatives, “she said.