Mistaken identity: Puducherry Health department orders probe

A file photograph of the Indira Gandhi Government Medical College and Research Institute. Photograph used for representational purposes only   | Photo Credit: M. SAMRAJ

The Puducherry Health Department has ordered an internal probe into the cremation of the body of a 44-year-old woman in a case of mistaken identity.

According to an official in the Health Department, the woman, a resident of Villianur Manaveli, was brought to the Indira Gandhi Government Medical College and Research Institute on Monday morning. The woman was undergoing treatment for lung disease and was referred to IGGMC by a private clinic here.

On examination, doctors declared her brought dead and the body was moved to the mortuary for mandatory COVID-19 tests. After her results proved negative, relatives came to the hospital to take the body on Wednesday. To their surprise, the relatives found the body missing from the mortuary.

The hospital authorities, when examining the situation, found the body of a 75-year-old COVID-19 patient still at the mortuary, though the woman’s relatives claimed to have taken the body and cremated it.

After the relatives of the COVID-19 patient were summoned to the hospital, it came to light that the victim’s daughter mistook her mother's body with that of the woman who was brought dead to the hospital. The family had already performed the cremation in Karuvadikuppam.

Revenue authorities said they are making arrangements to hand over the ashes to the family of the original claimant.

A senior official in the Health Department told The Hindu that though it was a misjudgement on the part of the relatives of the victim of COVID-19, a probe would be conducted to ascertain whether there was any lapse on the part of the hospital staff.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2020 9:25:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/mistaken-identity-puducherry-health-department-orders-probe/article32400782.ece

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