Families angry after bodies mixed up

2012-03-09 11:47

Pietermaritzburg - Grieving families have laid the blame for a mix-up that resulted in the burial of the wrong person squarely at the door of Pietermaritzburg's Edendale Hospital.

Families from Hopewell near Richmond accused the hospital of negligence after the bodies of Emely Mofokeng and Princess Mbeje were mixed up last month.

Mofokeng and Mbeje died in the hospital on February 8.

The Mbejes buried the person they believed to be their mother on February 18.

The Mofokeng family were to have buried Emely on February 25, but they noticed on the day of the funeral that they were about to bury the wrong body.


Edendale Hospital staff had to exhume Mofokeng’s body on Thursday and ensure that her family were handed her remains.

Mofokeng’s daughter, Nonhlanhla Radebe, told The Witness she was disturbed by the way nurses had dealt with her family when they went to collect their mother’s body last month.

“I was told by a mortuary attendant that the body was my mother’s, but they did not allow me to see her.

“When we got home we discovered that it was not my mother and we sent the body to Richmond and that’s when they phoned the hospital.

“Now this thing is causing more pain to us as we have to prepare for the funeral again,” said Radebe.

Mbeje’s son, Senzo Mbeje, said his family were under the impression that the body they had buried was that of their mother.

“[The department] will have to cleanse our home after this.

“We buried the wrong body because the papers were showing us that the body was that of our mother, while it was not,” said Senzo.


Neighbours and members of both families gathered at the Mbeje homestead as hospital systems manager, Simon Kubheka, and environmental officers helped exhume the body.

KwaZulu-Natal Health Department spokesperson Chris Maxon said the hospital had met both families to explain the mix-up and to apologise.

The Mbeje family will bury the correct body on Saturday.

The hospital will foot the bill.

Maxon said disciplinary measures would be taken against nurses who had been implicated in the mix-up.

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  • Susan - 2012-03-09 12:16

    These people know how milk situation.

      Janice - 2012-03-09 12:32

      and what if it was your mother??? Sis man!!!

      Michelle - 2012-03-09 13:49

      Oh my goodness Susan, what exactly are they milking??? I think I have read the same article as you. They paid to bury their mother and now have to bury her again, only fair that the people responsible for the cock-up foot the bill. Wait until some smart attorney gets hold of them and starts suing for emotional pain and suffering. What if it happened to your mom???

      John - 2012-03-09 16:23

      Can someone explain to me how the "first family" conducted burial? They didn't open the coffin at all, or maybe was shipped pre-packed? TIA...This Is Africa

  • Rudie - 2012-03-09 12:17

    Nothing worst than to get buried twice.

  • Matanje - 2012-03-09 12:25

    The family that apparently buried their dead without washing him/her and thus seeing the face "IS THE FACE", must hang their head in shame. That is not how we bury our dead along these shores. We believe when the deceased comes from the mortuary, you as family need to have time to wash the deceased, talk to the deceased to say farewell, OTHERWISE THIS PERSON, WHO SCIENTIFICALLY HAS AT LEAST ONE OF HIS SENSES STILL ACTIVE, WILL GO TO THE GRAVE A BITTER MAN/WOMAN!

      Gurling - 2012-03-09 12:53

      Which sense would that be?

      Gavin - 2012-03-09 13:14

      methinks your gene pool needs some chlorine.

      Eric Mdudus Shaku - 2012-03-09 13:38

      wash the dead person? thats true what i heard that dead people are washed by family members and they take that dirty water used to wash dead and sprinkle at every food and drink prepared funeral,thats why i dont eat at funerals.

  • sm1012 - 2012-03-09 12:36

    I am really up to here...the pathetic Govt does happen also here in Bloemfontein...recently my Cousin passed away in Govt Hospital due to ill-treatment from the PATHETIC Nurses...I wonder why they treat people like the say goes..."WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND"...all the Govt Employees with this attitude their day are numbered...wish DA could win the next National Election and show them what professionalism entails, just bunch of IDIOTS in the Govt Hospital...NO WONDER THEY ADVERTISED ALL GOVT HOSPITAL CEO POSITION...No more political appointments.

  • Gavin - 2012-03-09 13:15

    Soon this type of incompetence will escalate to a whole new level when they nationalize health care...

  • dmaloma - 2012-03-09 13:15

    you know i sometimes believe most of the nurses in Gov.hospitals/clinics chose the wrong career for themselves in this country.

  • daniella.blazic - 2012-03-09 13:36

    truly heartbreaking!

  • Ndivhuho - 2012-03-09 13:49

    what happened to viewing the body?? or is it not done anymore?

      Susan - 2012-03-09 15:21

      Ya i suppose u bury whatever they give you...

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