New Delhi: In yet another incident of mismanagement of COVID-19 bodies, wrapped in special body bags to contain the spread of the infection, a man found that the body he thought to be his sister’s was actually someone else’s while his sister’s body was already cremated by another family. The incident took place at AIIMS following which one staff of the mortuary has been termination while another has been suspended. Also Read - Odisha Lockdown: COVID-19 Patients Can Now be Admitted to Private Hospitals For Treatment
Moments before the body of 35-year-old Anjum was to be buried, Sharif Khan decided to have one last look at his sister who succumbed to the novel coronavirus. However, he received a rude shock when the corpse lying in a body bag beside the freshly dug grave turned out to be someone else’s. Also Read - IPL 2020: From Cheerleaders to WAGS, Things You Will Not See During T20 Tournament in UAE Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
Khan later found out that his deceased sister was cremated by the family of Kusumlata, another COVID-19 victim whose body had been accidentally swapped with Anjum’s by staff at the AIIMS here where both women had been admitted and subsequently died. Also Read - West Bengal: Civic Body Chairman Dies of COVID; Govt Blames Delay in Reaching Hospitals For 70% Deaths in State
A doctor at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) said there has been a lapse on the part of the staff as they did not carry out the proper process of establishing the identity before handing over the bodies to the families. A committee has been set up for carrying out a detailed probe into the incident, a senior doctor at AIIMS said.
Khan said his sister, a resident of Bareilly, was suffering from jaundice and he brought her to the AIIMS on July 4. Anjum was admitted at the emergency ward of the hospital and within two hours, the doctors declared her COVID-19 positive. They admitted her to the COVID-19 ward at the Trauma Centre, he said.
“Late on Monday night, I received a call that my sister had died. The next day, at around 8 am, we reached the hospital and asked the doctors if we could take the body back to Bareilly, but they refused. They gave us four PPE kits and asked to go to ITO graveyard to book a place,” Khan said.
Accordingly, the body was taken to the cemetery at ITO, a dedicated graveyard for burying those who die due to COVID-19.
Before the body was lowered in the grave, he opened the body bag to see his sister’s face one last time. When I saw the face, I realised it was not my sister. It was one Kusumlata from Ghaziabad. Her name was mentioned on the body, he said.
The AIIMS staff was also present during the burial. When Khan told them that the body was not his sister’s, the hospital staff left with Kusumlata’s body and said they would be back.
“We kept waiting at the graveyard till 4 p.m., but nobody turned up. We called them several times, but they kept giving us excuses. Finally, we reached the Trauma Centre and called police,” Khan said.
The doctors informed us that the family members of Kusumlata had cremated my sister’s body at the Punjabi Bagh crematorium, he said, adding that he had called his niece and nephew from Bareilly so that they could see their mother’s face one last time.
Khan said he has lodged a complaint at Safdarjung Enclave police station regarding the incident.
(With Agency Inputs)