Morgue mix up: Israeli family buries wrong body due to identification error

Family unintentionally buries a stranger after Haifa’s Carmel Medical Center transferred the wrong body.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

An Israeli family buried the body of a stranger due to an identification error made in the morgue of Carmel Medical Center in Haifa, the medical institution admitted in a statement on Sunday.

Last Friday, two women in their 80s passed away at the northern Israel hospital. They were transferred to the morgue, where the Hevra Kadisha (Jewish burial services) retrieved one of the bodies for burial the same day.

However, morgue workers identified the body collected by the burial society by the name of the other woman, whose body remained in the hospital. Operating under the assumption that the body had been correctly identified, the woman was buried under the wrong name and mourned by the wrong family.

The error was discovered when the other woman’s family came to collect the body and morgue staff guided them to identify her. The shocked relative told morgue staff that the deceased person bearing the name of their family member was definitely not their relative.

“Immediately upon discovering the rare and unfortunate mistake, the hospital summoned and updated the families, and professional staff supported and accompanied the families in whatever was required,” the medical center said in a statement.

“The hospital deeply apologized to the families and updated the relevant authorities.”

According to a report from the Kan public broadcaster, religious authorities are recommending that the woman who has already been buried receive a headstone with her correct name, and that the funeral and prayer services be held once again.

Under Jewish law, headstones are typically unveiled on the 30th day after the death of the person, so the grave of the woman who was buried under the wrong name does not yet have a permanent, incorrect marker on it.

The woman whose body remained in the morgue over the weekend will be buried later today, under her true identity.