Mix-up at mortuary: Shock as family discovers loved one already buried
Drama unfolded at Siloam Hospital’s mortuary, Lazarus Funeral Home, in Kericho when a family discovered that the body of their kin, whom they had gone to collect for burial, had already been released to another family and buried.
According to the family spokesman, Joseph Langat, they were shocked when the mortuary attendant removed a different body from that of 88-year-old Kipkoros Mutai for processing.
Langat said they raised an alarm after noticing unfamiliar physical features on the body which was a clear indication it was not their late uncle.
After a confrontation, the hospital management later discovered that the body was released to another family from Seretut area in Belgut constituency, the previous week on Thursday and was buried on Friday.
According to Julius Ruto, the Seretut family spokesman, he had indeed realized that the body was different from their uncle, identified as Joel Kipngeny Chumo, 95, during the processing for burial when they went to collect it on Thursday.
Ruto explained that he attempted to reason with the mortuary attendant, but the attendant threatened to detain him at the morgue if he did not accept the body.
He revealed that some of his relatives who had accompanied him to collect the body positively identified the remains as that of their kin, which led him to reluctantly accept it.
Ruto said he was not surprised when he later received a call informing him that they had buried the wrong body.
However, the hospital’s director, Franklin Bett, apologized to the two families for the mix-up.
Bett stated that the Seretut family seemed to have taken the body without proper scrutiny, adding that he discovered that the two old men bore a striking resemblance in some ways.
He emphasized that the mix-up was not malicious and that such an incident had not happened in the facility during its 24 years in operation.
Bett mentioned that the hospital administration had reported the matter to the Kericho police station and would file an affidavit in court on Wednesday to enable the family to exhume the already buried body.
He assured that they had resolved the matter amicably and the hospital would assist the two families in burying their respective kin.
The director dismissed the rumors circulating that the body was missing, clarifying that the whereabouts of each body were known, but the unfortunate mix-up had occurred.