Kin cremate wrong Covid victim after hospital mixup

FIR lodged over body swap I Hospital promises action against erring staff

Kin cremate wrong Covid victim after hospital mixup

Relatives of Tarsem Lal (inset) protest at a hospital in Jalandhar on Saturday; and (right) kin of Jaspal Singh (inset) speak to a cop. Malkiat Singh

Aparna Banerji

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 22

The bodies of two Covid-19 victims were swapped at Shriman Hospital here. One of the families went on to cremate it thinking it was of their relative.

Kamaljit Singh, SHO, Police Station Division 8, said an FIR had been registered under Section 297 of the IPC against the hospital authorities on the complaint of both families.

After the family of Tarsem Lal (78) went to receive his body from the hospital on Saturday, the one handed over to them turned out to be of someone else. Tarsem, who had tested positive for Covid, died on Saturday.

Lal’s family staged a protest at the hospital on Saturday claiming they were given the wrong body. After enquiries at the hospital, they learnt the body had been swapped with that of Jaspal Singh, who had died on Friday, and that their father had already been cremated by Jaspal’s family.

Vijay Sagar, Lal’s nephew, said, “After my uncle died on Saturday, we were called to the hospital to take his body. When we insisted on taking a picture of the body, we were shocked to see a different body. We were later told he had already been cremated.”

“We filed a complaint to the police yesterday, seeking action against the hospital. We also demand a proof that the man cremated was actually my uncle,” Sagar added.

On the other hand, Jaspal’s family had to face the ordeal of holding cremation twice. Half an hour after they first cremated the body, they were informed the it wasn’t of Jaspal.

Prabhleen Singh, Jaspal’s son, said, “After cremation, the hospital called us saying the body wasn’t of my father. While handing over the body, the authorities, following the Covid protocol, asked us to maintain distance from the body. We didn’t even open the body bag, but were shocked to learn it wasn’t that of my father. After getting the body today, we again held the cremation. It has caused us immense trauma. The body didn’t even bear a tag or any identification. Had the other family not checked, we wouldn’t have even known.”

Dr VP Sharma, MD, DM Cardiology, Shriman Hospital, said, “We had only two bodies. There was no third body. Due to Covid restrictions, there has been some error in tagging. We will take action against staff who erred in tagging the body. Proper cremation of the bodies has taken place.”

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