A woman received a full apology from a U.K. hospital after she was incorrectly informed her mother had passed away due to a stroke.
Liz Page, 61, came to Dorset County Hospital after being told the bad news by telephone. When she was shown what she thought was her mother’s body, she kissed it and said goodbye, the Guardian reported.
“I last saw my mum on a trolley with an oxygen mask over her mouth in A&E, [her death] was the news I was expecting,” Page told BBC News.
“We were shown a lady in a cubicle, she looked like my mum looked when she'd been asleep in her chair, with her mouth open and her nose in the air, and her hair stuck to her forehead,” Page added.
“I just said simply 'goodbye' and kissed her forehead,” she said.
However, later that day, with Page already having begun funeral arrangements, the hospital called to say that there had been a mix up and that Page’s mother, Phyllis Lilley, 94, was alive. Staff said the person who died had a similar name.
“Nobody should receive news that someone has died, be shown the wrong body in a state of grief and then find out they're alive,” Page said.
She added that she is speaking out about the incident to prevent the same thing happening again.
“A full investigation was conducted at the time into the events which led to this unacceptable situation,” a statement from Dorset County Hospitals NHS Trust read, according to the Guardian. “Mrs Page made a complaint to the trust and received a full explanation and apology from the chief executive. Mrs Page also met with senior managers to understand the outcomes of the investigation.”
Page decided not to inform her mother about the hospital’s error. Lilley now lives in a care home.
“The trust has changed its procedures following this incident,” the statement continued. “We are extremely sorry for the distress caused to Mrs Page and her family. The staff involved were also very upset by what happened and lessons have been learned to prevent this from happening again. Nothing of this nature has happened since this incident 18 months ago.”