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07th Oct 2022

Man, 55, was sent to morgue ‘while still alive’ and ‘tried to get out of bodybag’

Tobi Akingbade

Worst nightmare activated

A 55-year-old man sent to a morgue in Western Australia may still have been alive and could have tried to have get out of his own body bag, a doctor has claimed.

A local coroner’s court is investigating the alleged incident at Rockingham General Hospital near the town of Cooloongup,

According to local media, Kevin Reid, 55, had been declared dead while in palliative care.

He was reported dead on September 5, and his relatives were informed before he was transferred to a morgue, but a death certificate was not immediately issued.

It is claimed that a doctor at the hospital was asked to backdate the death certificate.

The doctor who visited to certified the death found fresh blood on his hospital gown, his eyes were open and he was lying in a different position to how he had been placed.

“I believe the fresh blood from a new skin tear, arm position and eye signs were inconsistent with a person who was post-mortem on arrival at the morgue,” the doctor wrote in a report to the coroner.

The doctor reported the man’s date of death as September 6.

A spokeswoman from the state coroner’s office confirmed an investigation was underway.

She said: “After receiving notification from a doctor at the Rockingham Hospital of the death of a 55-year-old man, the coroner’s court on Monday, October 3, commenced to investigate whether the death is a reportable death

“The court does not make public any of those investigations.”

A nurse is understood to have assessed Mr Reid on September 5 and found no signs of life, but there were no treating doctors available to certify the death.

South Metropolitan Health Service chief executive Paul Forden said signs identified by the doctor at the morgue were “not unusual”.

He said: “I’ve talked to some senior pathologists and senior doctors, the human body is a complex organism and actually there is movement post-mortem, rigor mortis fluids are discharged close to death.”

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