Photo by ANI

The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has terminated one staff member while another has been suspended, this comes a day after the bodies of two COVID-19 patients were exchanged while being taken for the last rites.

According to a report by Hindustan Times, AIIMS trauma centre had on Wednesday set up a committee to probe the matter.

Moments before the body of 35-year-old Anjum was to be buried, Sharif Khan decided to have one last look at his sister who succumbed to the novel coronavirus. However, he received a rude shock when the corpse lying in a body bag beside the freshly dug grave turned out to be someone else's.

Khan later found out that his deceased sister was cremated by the family of Kusumlata, another COVID-19 victim whose body had been accidentally swapped with Anjum's by staff at the AIIMS here where both women had been admitted and subsequently died.

A doctor at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) said there has been a lapse on the part of the staff as they did not carry out the proper process of establishing the identity before handing over the bodies to the families.

Khan said his sister, a resident of Bareilly, was suffering from jaundice and he brought her to the AIIMS on July 4. Anjum was admitted at the emergency ward of the hospital and within two hours, the doctors declared her COVID-19 positive. They admitted her to the COVID-19 ward at the Trauma Centre, he said. Anjum's husband had died seven months ago. She is survived by her three children.

On Monday night, Sharif Khan received a call that his sister had died. The next day, at around 8 am, they reached the hospital and asked the doctors if they could take the body back to Bareilly, but doctors refused. Accordingly, the body was taken to the cemetery at ITO, a dedicated graveyard for burying those who die due to COVID-19.

Before the body was lowered in the grave, he opened the body bag to see his sister's face one last time. When Khan saw the face he realised it was not his sister. The AIIMS staff was also present during the burial. When Khan told them that the body was not his sister's, the hospital staff left with Kusumlata's body and said they would be back. The family kept waiting at the graveyard till 4 p.m. Later, they reached the Trauma Centre and called police. Khan said he has lodged a complaint at Safdarjung Enclave police station regarding the incident.

(Inputs from Agencies)

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