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Family exhumes father after hospital morgue mix-up

by Staff reporter
02 Aug 2021 at 06:35hrs | Views
A Mhangura family recently had to endure the pain of exhuming and re-burying the body of their father which had earlier been interred elsewhere, in a case of mistaken identity.

The man had succumbed to Covid-19 related complications and his body had been taken from the morgue in the absence of relatives.  

This came as the mix-up of bodies of Covid-19 is reported to be on the rise countrywide as attendants at hospital morgues and funeral parlours are living in fear contracting the deadly virus.

Body mix-ups have particularly been common in the past 18 months during which the nation has battled Covid-19 pandemic along with the rest of the world.  

The body of Mr Eliah Banda was mixed-up with that of Mr Samson Mazivisa (80) from Alaska at Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital.

This was after the funeral parlour attendants were allowed to collect the body in the absence of mortuary attendants and relatives.  The hospital is operating with limited morgue attendants who have complained of overworking as Covid-19 related deaths take a toll on the institution.

Three attendants are said to be operating at the institution on a rotational basis.  

The Banda family, who had complied with Covid-19 regulations by burying their father without body viewing, only got to know of the mix-up when the Mazivisa family demanded to see their relative's body before burial despite the fact that he had also succumbed to Covid-19 related complications.  When the Mazivisa family saw that they had the wrong body, authorities investigated the matter leading to the discovery of the mix-up.  

"His body could not be found at the mortuary. It had been mixed-up with that of someone from Mhangura," said one of Mazivisa's relatives.  A community member from Mhangura, Mr Jairos Kadzimba confirmed having taking part in both the burial and exhumation of a body wrongly thought to have belonged to Mr Eliah Banda.  

"He (Mazivisa) was buried on Thursday at Mhangura Cemetery before he was exhumed Friday to verify if it was not Banda.

"The body of Banda was found at Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital morgue before his final burial on Saturday," he said.  

But, a Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital spokesperson, Mr George Kapondo who confirmed the mix-up said investigations were currently underway adding families were allowed to identify their deceased even if they succumb to Covid-19.  

"An investigation was done and the attendants were reprimanded for negligence of duty," he said.  

"The mortuary attendants are always complaining about workload. They attend to the bodies' of Covid-19 deceased from the ward to the morgue. It is a very worrying situation and there is need for the administration to consider hire more personnel," a student nurse from the hospital said.

Recently, a Bulawayo family had the body of their mother mixed-up with that of a deceased white lady. The family only released the anomaly after they defied regulations by opening the casket to bid farewell to their love one.

Source - the herald
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