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Daily News reported that the wrong bodies were sent to grieving relatives by Buriram Hospital. They were nearly cremated but the error was discovered just in time.
The director of the hospital in north eastern Thailand has apologized to the families and promised it won’t happen again.
The mix-up was discovered when an undertaker preparing a body noticed it was of a much younger woman.
Om Taoteethong, 47, of Ban Non Malai village and Lamom Insamran, 75, of Ban Alang village both died around the same time at Buriram Hospital.
Suwit Seetha, 39, a relative of Om said that the family should have realised something was wrong – a large candle lit in front of the coffin fell down twice even though there was not a gust of wind.
They should have realised it was an omen.
He said that dead bodies should be clearly labeled and noted that if they had cremated the wrong body how could you put that right?
Meanwhile Phisit Insamran, 37, the son of the older lady who died, said that during preparations for bathing rites a temple undertaker had alerted relatives that they were about to cremate the wrong person.
Phisit said that everyone was shocked. It was lucky that the villages are nearby and costs were kept down – and lucky that the undertaker (or mortician) checked the body in the casket.
Director of medical services at Buriram Hospital Dr Rakkiat Prasongdee explained that the hospital has formal procedures in the event of a death.
Contact is made between the wards and the morgue and everything is done from identification and address checks to washing with formalin and wrapping of the deceased.
However, on this occasion three bodies had been wrapped and were being prepared to send to relatives. A relative should have formally viewed the corpse and identified it as theirs and sign off on the paperwork.
This was not done on this occasion.
Dr Rakkiat said that hospital director Dr Somchai Atsawasutsakhorn had ordered a full investigation and could assure the relatives that such a situation will not happen again.
The director had apologized to the families for the distressing mix-up, he said.