Much to the horror of two families, Delhi AIIMS Trauma Center exchanged bodies of two Covid-19 victims on Tuesday. This lapse on the part of the hospital authorities, resulted in the Hindu family mistakingly cremating the body of a Muslim woman thinking it to be the body of their family member.
The family members of Ayesha (name changed) were called on July 7 (Tuesday) and informed by the authorities at Delhi’s AIIMS Trauma Center that she had succumbed to Coronavirus, and were asked to collect the body of the deceased. When Ayesha’s family reached the hospital they were informed that the hospital authorities were preparing for the release of the body and asked them to prepare for the burial.
When Ayesha’s brother wanted to see his sisters face the authorities said that they that they’ll be able to do so only at the burial ground. Around noon, the body covered in plastic, according to the standard protocol laid for all Covid-19 bodies, was handed over to the family.
Right before the funeral, Ayesha’s Children insisted on seeing their mother’s face for the last time. “We were told by an official at the Delhi Gate burial ground that we’ll have to pay Rs 500 to see the face,” Ayesha’s brother said. “As we paid them to see my sister’s face, we were shocked. It wasn’t Ayesha. It was Sarita’s body (name changed) and belong to a Hindu family,” Ayesha’s brother added.
On learning that they had received the wrong body, the family contacted the authorities at AIIMS, who told them that there had been some mistake and assured to give the “right body” in an hour. But, when, after an hour, the family got no update they went back to the hospital, only to learn that the body of Ayesha had been cremated by a Hindu family.
The Hindu family, who had already cremated Ayesha’s body at the Punjabi Bagh cremation ground, later learnt that it wasn’t the body of their daughter.
Speaking to News18.com, AIIMS Trauma Center authorities said that an inquiry was set up in the matter and one person from the mortuary staff was terminated, while another was suspended.
Similar horror stories from Delhi hospitals continue to pour in
Last month too, similar incidents were reported from Delhi hospitals, giving a grim picture of the laxity and unpreparedness of the hospital authorities in Delhi in handling the coronavirus crisis.
On June 12, News 18 reported how two bodies were exchanged in Delhi’s LNJP Hospital, thereby denying one family a chance to cremate their mother while the other family ending up cremating two bodies, one of which was that of their father. The family accused the hospital of not only giving improper care to their loved ones but also depriving the families of performing the last rites of their loved ones.
In another case, two bodies were mixed up at the mortuary at Lok Nayak Hospital as they had the same name, and as a result, one Kalamuddin buried his father twice. Two people with the same name- Moinuddin has passed away in the hospital on June 7. Then an official at Lok Nayak Hospital was quoted by The Indian Express as saying: “It is sometimes difficult to identify the body because people are often anxious in a mortuary and after death, the face lacks expression, which also makes it difficult. We will make efforts to ensure such incidents do not happen again.”