Big trouble! Nine families bury wrong bodies after serious mortuary errors
Hospital mortuary staff have released the wrong corpses to funeral parlours, a study found — with many buried or cremated before the mistake was spotted.
Post-mortems have been performed on the wrong bodies and relatives faced the trauma of a second funeral.
Researchers analysed all 132 reports to the NHS over the mismanagement of patients after death from 2002 to 2013.
They found funeral directors were sent the wrong body 25 times, with nine buried or cremated.
Five corpses were lost entirely, with 13 post-mortem mix-ups. Seven bodies were “disfigured” when dropped or struck while being moved around the mortuary.
Fifteen decomposed, often when not refrigerated properly, the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine reported.
Errors were blamed on failing to follow procedure, misconduct and overwork.
Study chief Iain Yardley, from Evelina London Children’s Hospital, said: “Civilised society expects that a body will be accorded the same dignity and respect as during life.”