A Mfuleni family is demanding the body of their late aunt that they say is being kept by the Khayelitsha District Hospital (KDH).
The family say they want to bury Georgina Matee, 54, but her body won’t be released because the hospital won’t reveal the cause of her death.
Georgina was admitted to KDH on 27 September after a fire broke out at her Mfuleni home and she suffered burn wounds from below her breasts to her knees.
Her daughter Banele Matee says the hospital operated on her mom without consulting the family.
“After she was admitted at the hospital, they operated on her without telling us and we are the ones who have been calling the hospital for updates,” she says.
Georgina passed away last Friday and Banele says when they went to see the body, there was blood on her mother’s face, yet she did not suffer any burns there.
“The nurses were rude and no one wanted to tell us what happened to her face or the cause of death,” says Banele.
Feeling defeated, the family made funeral arrangements for Saturday, but there was another stumbling block.
“We took the body, but when we got to Home Affairs we were told that they cannot give us the death certificate as there is no cause of death on the documents we were given by the hospital. We had to return the body to the hospital,” adds Banele.
The deceased’s sister Nandipha says they smell a rat.
“They must tell us the cause of death and release the body to us. When we go to the hospital, management runs off and we are given nurses to attend to us,” she says.
The family met with hospital management on Monday and say the hospital admitted to handling things badly
“The doctor who operated on her still does not want to meet with us, they said the body will be sent to the pathologist,” says Nandipha.
The Western Cape Government Health spokesperson for the Khayelitsha and Eastern Substructure Sithembiso Magubane says Georgina was admitted with severe burn wounds and received “appropriate care in theatre for her condition”.
“She passed away on Saturday 10 October due to the severity of her condition.
“The body of the deceased was erroneously sent to a funeral parlour without proper documentation, however, the hospital later requested for the body to be sent for forensic investigation with proper documentation completed to establish the cause of death.
“The death notification forms including the forensic forms were only completed on Monday 12 October and the family was notified that the case was sent for forensic investigation before the body can be released.”