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Hospital apologizes for misplaced corpse

A mortuary official has been suspended and a hospital has offered compensation to make amends to a family whose relative's corpse was unexpectedly moved from the mortuary, officials said yesterday.

The Pudong New Area Gongli Hospital said it had apologized to the family with a payment, and the family said they were pleased with the result.

Neither side revealed the amount of compensation.

"We've reached a tacit understanding," said Jiang Ning, president of the hospital.

Jiang said the official in charge of the mortuary, surnamed Xiao, has been suspended and the hospital is cooperating with police in investigating the case.

It is still unclear who moved the corpse out of the mortuary.

"This is odd," Jiang said. "It was the first time we met such case."

Jiang promised the hospital will increase oversight at the mortuary. A camera will be set at the door and two people will be on duty every day instead of one, Jiang added.

An 80-year-old man surnamed Tang died in the hospital at 5am on Sunday. Xiao later found Tang's body in a house under construction near the mortuary at 9pm, the hospital said.

Xiao and a colleague moved Tang's body back but placed it into a wrong freezer, the family discovered when they came to the mortuary on Monday morning.

Tang's denture and clothes were found "in disarray," the family said, and one of the socks was even missing.

"It was so disrespectful and unacceptable," complained Tang's grandson surnamed Wang with anger yesterday. "How could the hospital take care of those patients if they can't even protect a dead body?"

An insider said another corpse was found missing in the same mortuary yesterday, a 68-year-old man from Hebei Province, but the hospital denied that this morning.

The hospital hired and authorized a funeral company to take care of the mortuary, with the service due to end yesterday. The hospital has decided not to extend the contract, Jiang said.


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