Gov’t rejects click bait Times Caribbean “Wrong Body” article as “Fake News”

The Ministry of Health and the administration of the Joseph N. France Hospital have both rejected the assertions of a Times Caribbean (TC) article dated 11th April, 2024 under the title, “Healthcare Crisis Deepens: Families Outraged as Wrong Body Buried after Mix-up at JNF Hospital.”

The TC article which fails to identify anyone or any institution involved, alleged that an unclaimed body was misidentified and swapped with another person’s body by the hospital which resulted in the wrong person being buried by a funeral home.

The article, which was conveyed in a piece that consisted of one lengthy paragraph, made no mention of the writer making any attempt to contact the Ministry of Health or the JNF Hospital’s administrators to verify the sensational story.

It further made mention of the families that had been plunged into new grief over the supposed mix up, but did not indicate who these families were and offered no indication that anyone had been spoken to.

SKN Source reached out to both the Ministry of Health, headed by Prime Minister Dr. Terrance Drew and the JNF Hospital.

Both have vehemently denied the allegation with inside sources describing the claims as “blatantly false and intended to create mischief”.

Similarly, the Office of the Chief Medical Officer, headed by Dr. Hazel Laws, also confirmed that no such incident had occurred.

A statement from the JNF Hospital received by SKN Source in response to our inquiries said, in part, “The mixing up of a body is something that is near impossible to happen, and if it occurs, it would be a huge deal involving the offices of National Security and Chief Medical Officer.”

The hospital also explained that for any mix up involving a dead body to be properly verified an exhumation would have had to occur. This is not a simple process.

“Multiple layers of approval would have to occur for any legal exhumation to occur. If any body was dug up and all [the relevant agencies] were not informed, then all would be arrested,” the statement explained.

It continued, “All bodies are toe tagged, body bag tagged and further have information written on their abdomen with a marker. Only if all three forms of identity match is the body even moved. Also, it is not without a family member’s identification.

“If a body was randomly found, then the police have to broadcast it for at least six months so that anyone with a missing person claim can come forward and see if they can identify [the body]. If there is no claimant to the body after that time, they get a state burial.”

The statement noted that after six months, even with advanced refrigeration methods to preserve the body, decomposition would have begun making it even more unlikely that an unclaimed body could be confused with that of someone more recently deceased,

“To mix up an unclaimed, [decomposing] body with any other body is nigh impossible. The likelihood of something so big happening and not one of us in charge knowing is near impossible,” the statement concluded.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health has emphatically denied the claims in the TC article and told SKN Source, “The prime minister [Dr. Terrance Drew], who is Minister of Health knows nothing. The Chief Medical Officer knows nothing. The Medical Chief of Staff knows nothing. Neither pathologist knows anything.”

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