The administration at Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences on Wednesday suspended a mortuary staffer and terminated the services of another worker after the bodies of two coronavirus patients were swapped while being taken for their last rites, The Indian Express reported.
“A medical lab technician was suspended and one project staff was terminated,” a senior doctor told the newspaper. “They work in the mortuary department. While the technician is a permanent employee, the project staff was a contractual worker who handled registration and other work related to bodies. A committee has been set up under Dr TS Roy (head of the anatomy department). Dr Sanjay Arya and Dr Lokesh Kashyap will be part of the committee.”
On Monday, a 35-year-old woman identified as Anjum died of complications related to the coronavirus at the AIIMS Trauma Centre, according to The Hindu. The next day, the family reached the hospital’s mortuary where the staff told her brother to book a place in the graveyard so that they could bring the body. “We went to the graveyard at ITO and completed the preparations,” said Sharif Khan, a resident of Bareilly. “Two persons came to the graveyard with the body. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It wasn’t Anjum’s body but of a woman named Kusum Lata.”
The ambulance staff told him “there might have been a mix-up” and left with the body, promising to come back. The brother was informed at the hospital that Anjum’s body had been cremated by Lata’s family. “I had called Anjum’s children [two sons and a daughter] to see their mother for the last time and they couldn’t even do that,” Khan said.
The family has filed a complaint at Safdarjung Enclave police station, alleging negligence on the part of the hospital. “We are looking into it,” said Anil Mittal, Additional Public Relations Officer (Delhi Police).
The mix-up happened at a time when Delhi is still grappling with the coronavirus pandemic. The cases in the national Capital has crossed 1.04 lakh, with 3,213 deaths.