‘Administrative error’ by the council leaves daughter worried about having cremated the wrong body

A grieving daughter claimed council officials may have cremated the wrong body instead of her mother.

The woman said her mother died suddenly of a heart attack last November and that she arranged a funeral for her the following month.

However, in February, she received urgent emails from the coroner and local authorities urging her to register her mother’s death so funeral arrangements could be made.

Authorities stated that her mother’s body was still in hospital in Shrewsbury.

Woman ‘surprised’ by council email

The Shropshire Council Public Protection Officer’s email said: “The reason I have been asked to help is that your mother remains at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, her death has not been registered and there have been no instructions from her next of kin regarding to his funeral.”

The woman, who spoke to The Telegraph on condition of anonymity, said the email had “taken her by surprise” and left her living “in absolute hell”. The board has since apologized, claiming it was an “administrative error”.

However, a series of errors and incidents at the hospital and funeral home where the woman last saw her mother have left her convinced that “the wrong body” may have been cremated.

She said: “All of us will now forever be convinced that the ashes we have are not real and it really doesn’t matter what they say or do. We’re just going to be in doubt about it and it’s not going to go away.”

Misspelled name tags on corpse

In the days following her mother’s death, the woman went to visit her at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, but noticed that her name was misspelled on her bracelets.

This made her very upset and the mortuary staff promised to remove the tags and fix them. She now believed that the wrong badges could have been placed on her mother, or that the badges could have been left out.

A few days later, the woman went to visit her mother at the funeral home, where the officials told her, “I’m sorry, I’m telling you now, for your sake, you can’t see her.”

They added that it was not possible for her to see the body because it was “decomposed beyond recognition, green and falling apart”.

“That struck me as odd given that his body was in relatively good shape when I saw him in the hospital a few days earlier,” the woman said.

‘What they did is irreparable’

She now believed that “there’s a good chance” the funeral home workers weren’t talking about her mother’s body.

“These factors, along with the email, make me think that the wrong body was transported to the funeral home and subsequently cremated, despite the Shropshire Government’s subsequent explanation,” she said.

“What they did is kind of irreparable… Trust is so low that of course this could have happened.

“That would really put the fear of God in anyone, wouldn’t it? Because if it can happen to one person, it can happen to anyone. And none of us should live in fear that this could happen to a loved one or to ourselves.”

‘Robust process in place’ at hospital

A spokesperson for Shropshire Council: “Shropshire Council is aware of these concerns following an email sent in error and has contacted a family member to apologize for any distress caused.

“The municipality is only responsible for registering deaths that have occurred in the municipality. As the public would expect, we cannot comment on the specific details of any case.”

Sara Biffen, Acting Director of Operations at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, said: “We are unable to comment on individual cases but would like to offer our deepest condolences to the family at this difficult time.

“We would like to reassure people that we have a robust process in place in our mortuaries to ensure that misidentification does not occur. We will strive to work closely with the family to offer whatever support we can.”

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