HC Deb 29 October 1956 vol 558 cc87-8W
35 and 36. Mr. B. Harrison

asked the Minister of Health (1) what arrangements are made by hospitals to identify bodies of deceased persons in their mortuary ; and what steps are taken to ensure that the correct body is delivered to an undertaker ;

(2) if he is aware of the recent case of mistaken identity at Black Notley Hospital mortuary, near Braintree; if a receipt was given and accepted for the body ; and what steps have been taken to ensure that such a mistake does not happen again.

Miss Hornsby-Smith

Hospital authorities have been instructed that the bodies must be labelled and registered, and handed over to the undertakers' representative only in the presence of a mortuary attendant, both of whom are required to sign the register. In the case to which my hon. Friend refers, this procedure was followed but in error the label was not checked. The Hospital Management Committee has held a full inquiry and have taken steps to ensure that, so far as is humanly possible, a mistake of this sort will not occur again. I should like to express my own and the Committee's deep regret for the mistake and for the distress caused to the relatives.