Mortuary Mix-Up Stats
A study from the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine has highlighted how confusion and administrative errors are resulting in bodies being mixed up and being sent to the wrong funeral homes.
Being sent to the wrong funeral home is only the mild end of what can happen to a body. Other cases have seen bodies wrongly cremated and suffer from avoidable decomposition before a post-mortem could be performed. In other instances bodies have become bruised and damaged due to accidents.
The study has found that the underlying reasons behind these incidents included professionals using informal working procedures and poor communication. Using information from 132 incidents the research team has discovered that many of the errors afflicting the dead are also those that can impact the health care of the living. The report states: “What is striking in this study of a novel field of healthcare risk is how the findings resembled those incidents occurring before death. ‘Patient accident’, ‘Documentation (including identification)’, ‘Infrastructure’, ‘Consent, communication and confidentiality’ and ‘Treatment, procedure’ are all included in the ten most frequent incident types reported to the NHS.”
But what do the the numbers say?