A criminal case has been opened against the Bheki Mlangeni District Hospital mortuary after a woman who had lost her baby was allegedly given the wrong body for burial.
The Gauteng health department said in a statement that a clerk and three mortuary attendants had been provisionally suspended pending internal and police investigations.
Its spokesperson Steve Mabona said this followed an incident on 30 June where a 20-year-old mother was allegedly given the wrong body with the wrong tag information after she lost her baby shortly after giving birth.
''This was discovered a week later when the family was about to bury the child."
The probe into the matter will also include DNA testing.
"DNA tests will assist to verify that the unidentified body belongs to the bereaved mother," Mabona told Health24.
The department conveyed its condolences to the bereaved mother Ntsekiseng Gabela and her family.
"Losing a new-born immediately after birth is traumatic on its own and to undergo secondary trauma in this manner is unimaginable,” said Mabona.
The department also committed to ensuring that the family is assisted with costs incurred thus far.
Clearing the confusion
"No effort shall be spared to get to the bottom of this confusion and to prevent it from happening again," it added.
Mabona said the department is not aware of any other similar incidents.
In March, a doctor suspended for 16 months on accusations of trying to steal human organs at Diepkloof government mortuary in Soweto returned to work.
The doctor was suspended in November 2014 after he was accused of trying to walk out with a bucket allegedly containing the brains and heart of a dead woman.
At the time the Gauteng department of health said the doctor was suspended pending finalisation of disciplinary processes, however, he approached the courts to interdict the department.
He was allowed to return to work because he was successful in pushing for a pre-disciplinary arbitration.
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