Funeral homes workers netted for stealing dead bodies from Mbarara hospital

Suspects (Robert Mucunguzi , on phone and Andrew Ainomugisha) paraded shortly after being arrested at MRRH on Thursday morning.

By Amos Tayebwa

MBARARA—Police in Mbarara are investigating two men over alleged theft of dead bodies.

They have been identified as Robert Mucunguzi, an employee at Urban Funeral Services and Andrew Ainomugisha of Miles Funeral Services.

They were arrested at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital on Thursday morning.

Halson Kagure, the Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital Public Relations Officer said the duo was apprehended by the hospital security team as they moved from ward to ward in search of clients that could have lost their loved ones.

It has been revealed that the suspects have been in the habit of wandering at various hospitals luring caretakers to handover bodies of their deceased relatives from the hospital wards immediately after they have passed on without going through prescribed hospital procedures.

Kagure explains that normally, all the bodies of the patients who die under hospital care are supposed to pass through the mortuary for documentation after all the last processes have been completed in the ward where the death occurred.

When the duo were interrogated, they revealed that they had been deployed by their paymasters (owners of funeral homes) to the hospital, targeting the bodies of deceased patients before they are delivered from the wards to the hospital mortuary.

For this service, the duo revealed that they are paid a commission of Sh.200,000 if they are able to persuade the relatives to snatch the body from the ward and take it straight to the funeral home.

Dr. Raymond Atwine, the head of Pathology Department at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital, says the vice of brokering bodies on the ward before being taken to and registered in the mortuary books has been going on for a long time now.

He blamed it squarely on the funeral homes in Mbarara City who connive with special hire drivers to execute the mission.

He explains that it is a normal procedure that when a patient dies from the hospital ward, a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) is issued by a licensed and practicing doctor to accompany the body to the mortuary for proper identification.

This document is then passed to the Medical Records Department of the hospital for processing of a death certificate by the National Information and Records Authority (NIRA).

From the mortuary, the body is processed according to the wishes of the relatives, and handed over to them with a gate pass, with the document that allows the relatives to transport the body to its final resting place.

In the event that the above procedures are not followed, it becomes difficult for the hospital to process the crucial documents for the issuance of the death certificate by NIRA.

This will involve retrieving the deceased patient’s medical records and looking for the doctors who attended to the patient and asking them to issue the MCCD in retrospect.

Snatching bodies from the wards of the hospital without thorough preparations can put the lives of the general public in danger of contracting infectious diseases that the patient may have died of while s/he was alive, cautions Dr. Raymond.

According to Samson Kasasira, the Rwizi Region Police Spokesperson, the two suspects were taken to Mbarara Central Police and are now assisting the police with investigations concerning their clandestine activities in the hospital.

Kasasira condemned the funeral homes’ modus operandi but is optimistic the ongoing crackdown will bring them to their knees.

Recently, while appearing on the media, Dr.Celestine Barigye the Hospital Director Mbarara Referral Hospital and Regional Director of Health Services in Western Uganda was tasked to explain the allegations of charging for mortuary services where he revealed that they are free of charge.

Dr.Barigye did not however deny the allegations adding that they were doing whatever it takes to crack a whip on whoever is trading smear campaigns be it staff or outsiders. DEAR READER, NOW THAT YOU ARE HERE, DO YOU HAVE A HOT STORY YOU WOULD LIKE US TO PUBLISH?…FRAUD IN BANKS, BETTING FIRMS, CHEATERS, DIVORCE FILES, SEX NETWORKS, SEX FOR MARKS, HARASSMENT OF ALL NATURE AT OFFICE BY YOUR BOSS, CHILD NEGLECT, WETLAND OCCUPATION, ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION, VIDEOS, IMPUNITY or CORRUPTION (in government agencies/ MDA’s, NGOs, Ministries, Private sector), FIGHTS IN OFFICES, JOB WARS/ WITCH HUNT, URA TAX FRAUD/NON-COMPLIANCE, CHEATING MONEY LENDERS, BUSINESS WRANGLES, SUBSTANDARD PRODUCTS, GOLD SCAMS, NSSF REMITTANCES NON COMPLIANCE, LAND ISSUES, INTERNAL AUDIT REPORTS EXPOSES, POLITICAL WRANGLES…ETAL. CALL/TEXT/WHATSAPP 0777959024 OR EMAIL: redpeppertips@gmail.com WITH AS MUCH EVIDENCE AS POSSIBLE.
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