Sigatoka Mortuary Incident
THE Ministry of Health is conducting an internal investigation on circumstances surrounding the release of the wrong body from the Sigatoka Hospital mortuary earlier this week.
Health spokesman Iliesa Tora said they will first see what happened and if there was any fault on their side the staff or officers involved will be reprimanded.
And he has apologized to the families involved for the unfortunate incident.
“We would like to apologise to the families for the incident. This is something that should never happen and we will get to the bottom of it,” Mr Tora said.
And at the same time the Ministry through a Ministerial Directive issued yesterday has been told to step up its systems and procedures used for the mortuary service so that the issue is curbed.
“We have had such problems in the past and although there are procedures in place some still do not follow them at times,” Mr Tora said.
He said from now on all patients admitted at the health facilities around the country will have to wear a bracelet on their left wrist as an identification tag. That will have their names and admission dates on the tag.
Patients who are released will have the tags removed once they are cleared to go home.
Patients who die while being admitted will have the tag as their identification when they are placed in the morgue.
Members of the public who die outside the hospital will also have identification tags on their left wrist.
Only very close next of kin will be allowed to come and claim the bodies from the mortuaries.
The relatives will have to bring with them original death certificates issued by the hospital or health facility and will have to sight the body first with the mortuary attendant before a body is released.
The identification tag will have to be collected by the mortuary attendant as part of their records.
Mr Tora said with the mortuary service now being paid from April 12, it was important that the system works.
“We have to cut out all this wrong releasing of bodies,” he added.
Meanwhile, mortuary fees will be charged from Monday April 12, 2010.
The rates are $30 per night from the 4th night and $50 per night from the 6th night.
The first three days will be free as is the usual practise.