LASUTH may stop releasing bodies over DNA results

The management of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, may stop releasing bodies to families until results of the DNA testing is out to avoid confusion.

The Chief Medical Examiner in the state, Prof. John Obafunwa, who spoke to relations at the Lekan Ogunsola Memorial Morgue in Lagos on Monday, said waiting for the results of the DNA testing would ensure that families lay claims to the right body.

Obafunwa said, “We have nothing to gain here by keeping the bodies,whatever we do here have some legal implications and when anything goes wrong, we will be the one to be held responsible. So to really get things right, DNA examination is just the best option. I appeal to relations to be more patient if they must get the right corpse.”

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“There are cases where some families have identified some bodies as theirs, and when asked to describe some of the features of the person, they give wrong descriptions. There was a case where a man identified a body as his wife but when asked to provide some evidence, he provided a dental record and at the end of the exercise, the record did not match the body, and several other cases.”

Meanwhile, ongoing identification process of the victims of the Dana plane crash got messier on Monday, when some relatives who were waiting to claim bodies, were asked to re-indentify the bodies.

The relatives questioned the order, arguing that it might be difficult for them to re-identify the bodies as some of them had decomposed beyond recognition.

One of the relations  who spoke on condition of anonymity, as the hospital management had warned relatives not to speak to the press, expressed her displeasure.

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He said, “Give me the body because I can no longer continue to wait. You are asking me re-identify when I already did one last week. How is that possible when the body is already decomposing, why were the identified bodies not tagged when we identified them earlier?”

A source at the Lekan Ogunsola Memorial Morgue of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it was necessary for the claimant to re-identify before claiming the body for final clarification.

He said six bodies had been released to their relations over the weekend, while seven others would be released in the next two days.

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However, the hospital had requested one of the six bodies released to a family on Saturday to be brought back to the mortuary for proper dental identification.

The relation said, “We’ve been asked to bring the body back, that the initial dental expression carried out was not properly done. Meanwhile, we’ve already deposited the body at a private morgue.”

However, Chief Medical Director of LASUTH, Prof. Wale Oke, appealed to the victims’ relatives to be patient and give the hospital four weeks to finish the DNA testing and also get the results before releasing bodies to avoid mix-up.

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