• Goverdhan Prajapat's body was mistakenly claimed by the family of Omkar Lal Gadulia and given funeral rites
  • Gadulia, who had left without telling relatives, was surprised to learn about the  mix-up when he returned home
  • RK Hospital took responsibility for the error, blaming their nursing and mortuary staff

A case of misidentification at a hospital in India's Rajasthan state led a family to perform funeral rites for the wrong corpse and left a man mistakenly presumed dead.

The blunder occurred after the state-run RK Hospital in Jaipur declared the body of a man named Goverdhan Prajapat as "unidentified." The body was then wrongly identified and claimed by relatives of 40-year-old Omkar Lal Gadulia, the Press Trust of India reported.

Gadulia, an alcoholic, had gone to the city of Udaipur on May 11 without informing his family and was admitted to a hospital over a liver problem. On the same day, Prajapat was taken to RK hospital, where he died during treatment for an undisclosed disorder.

Police received a letter from hospital officials that said Prajapat's body had been left unclaimed at the mortuary for three days, prompting them to circulate photographs of the deceased man to help identify the body, officer Yogendra Vyas of the Kankroli police station said.

Vyas said over a dozen people came to the hospital on May 15 to identify the body, and they include Gadulia's relatives, who wrongly identified the body to be his due to a similar right-hand scar and appearance. Police handed over the body without conducting any post-mortem and DNA test.

"DNA testing and post-mortem by a medical board is conducted when the body is unidentified following which the body is usually handed over to municipality for cremation," Vyas said.

The family then took the body away and performed final rites on the same day.

Gadulia, however, was unaware of the events and was surprised to learn everyone presumed he was dead when he returned home on Sunday.

A police investigation was launched, and authorities identified the cremated body as Prajapat.

"Police were nowhere at fault in this case. The body was declared unidentified by the hospital authorities," Vyas remarked.

Hospital officials, for their part, took responsibility for the fiasco and blamed their nursing and mortuary staff.

"There was a huge patient load. The patient was admitted to the hospital through 108 ambulance service. The incident took place due to lack of coordination between the nursing and mortuary staff. Appropriate action will be taken in the matter," Principal Medical Officer Lalit Purohit said.

Representation. The hospital took responsibility for the error, blaming its nursing and mortuary staff. Pixabay