Stock death suicide
The family discovered a shocking mistake during the ritual washing of the deceased. Image Credit: i stock

Riyadh: Investigations are underway into a mistaken exchange of two dead bodies at a hospital in eastern Saudi Arabia, according to a media report. This is the latest incident of its kind reported in the Kingdom.

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Saudi newspaper Al Watan said the Eastern Health Cluster launched a large-scale inquiry into the swap of the two corpses at the hospital in Qatif governorate. "All necessary measures will be taken," the paper reported.

Unnamed sources told the paper that one body was initially found in Al Ihsa, but due to a full morgue, it was transferred to Central Qatif Hospital. After an autopsy, the body was handed over for burial, they said. However, the family discovered a shocking mistake during the ritual washing of the deceased. The body was not that of their 40-year-old son. The pre-burial funeral prayer was postponed, and the corpse returned to the hospital.

Investigations also continue to locate the second corpse since the death announcement on June 27. Authorities have not yet commented.

Several similar incidents have been reported by Saudi media in recent years. In 2017, a pre-burial discovery exposed the exchange of a Saudi woman's body with a Sudanese expatriate's corpse, according to Al Yaum newspaper.

Two separate incidents in Buraidah (2008 & 2013) also revealed similar errors. In one case, a grieving family preparing to bury their deceased woman received a phone call informing them the body undergoing washing was that of a male expatriate.

The call prompted the family to rectify the situation. In 2011, the family of a Filipino who died in Riyadh was stunned to discover the corpse flown home belonged to a person with Arab features.