In a major lapse, the bodies of two men who died of Covid-19 at Meerut Medical College got interchanged because of an alleged mistake at the mortuary. The error came to light after one of the families unwrapped the face cover during cremation on Sunday.
The deceased were identified as 65-year-old Guruvachan from Modinagar in Ghaziabad district, and Yashpal, 58, who was from Meerut. Guruvachan’s body was handed over to Yashpal’s family, who cremated it on Saturday without unwrapping the face. The lapse was discovered when Guruvachan’s family unsealed the body cover before putting it on a pyre at a crematorium.
The hospital administration blamed an inebriated mortuary worker for placing wrong identity tags on the bodies.
“Guruvachan, a resident of Modinagar, was admitted to the coronavirus ward at the Meerut Medical College on Tuesday [September 1] with breathing problems. His condition deteriorated and he died on Friday. The same night, Yashpal (58), who was a resident of Meerut, died at the same ward. Both bodies were taken to the post-mortem house for wrapping before being handed over to the respective family members but the worker who was under the influence of liquor messed up the whole process,” said Dr Lokesh, who is in charge of the Covid ward at the medical college.
Guruvachan’s nephew Vikas Sharma said, “We received a call at around 8 pm on Saturday from the hospital who told us that he [Guruvachan] died. We were asked to take the body and carry out the cremation as per Covid protocols. Around 8 am the following day, we took the body to the crematoriumWe opened part of the cover on his face and to our shock we found this was not his body.”
Yashpal’s son collected his father’s body from the crematorium after being informed of the blunder by Guruvachan’s family, who staged a protest.
After the Modinagar resident’s family lodged a complaint with the Chief Minister’s Office and Meerut District Magistrate Anil Dhingra, Medical Education Secretary Rajendra Dubey sought a report from the magistrate. Dhingra then ordered Chief Medical Officer Rajkumar Saini and Additional District Magistrate Ajay Kumar Tiwari to investigate the matter and submit a report in 24 hours.
“It has come to my notice that dead bodies have been exchanged in a particular hospital. I have asked ADM City and the Chief Medical Officer to look into the facts of the case and submit a report at the earliest. Those guilty of negligence will not be spared,” said Dhingra.