Andrade with a photo of her late husband, whose body was mistaken for that of another virus victim. Andrade with a photo of her late husband, whose body was mistaken for that of another virus victim.

Veracruz hospital gives grieving widow the wrong body

Her husband had been cremated by another family

A grieving widow in Veracruz claims that hospital staff tried to give her the wrong body after her husband passed away from Covid-19.

Dulce María Andrade’s husband, 42-year-old Ángel Lucas Rueda, was admitted to the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) hospital in Coatzacoalcos on June 29 with respiratory symptoms and died just before noon on July 4.

Several hours later, another male patient also passed away. Relatives of both families were notified, but Andrade was unable to claim her husband’s body over the weekend. 

“He passed away on Saturday morning, and so I asked the funeral home if they could pick him up, but they told me that it would be until Monday because they don’t work on the weekend,” Andrade says. 

When she went on Monday to identify and claim his body from the morgue, the corpse they presented her with was not that of her husband. 

Andrade says hospital staff tried to convince her that people look different after they have died, but the body they said was her husband was much older, and Andrade wasn’t buying it.

She asked the hospital if she could go from room to room looking for him, clinging to the hope that he might still be alive, but the hospital refused.  

It wasn’t until the following day, Tuesday, that hospital officials were able to provide her with an explanation. IMSS staff said that when relatives of the other patient who died on Saturday arrived to claim the deceased, they were given the wrong body in a case of “erroneous identification,” and it was subsequently cremated. 

Hospital officials told the widow that they would retrieve her husband’s ashes and turn them over to her once the appropriate paperwork was completed. 

The hospital apologized to Andrade and stated that “the IMSS authorities in Veracruz are carrying out mediation work with the families involved in order to complete successfully the exchange of the funeral remains.”

Andrade says she plans to file a complaint against the hospital for negligence.

Source: Milenio (sp), Animal Político (sp), Presencia (sp)

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