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Bernadette Walsh grieved over her mother's body - only to discover it's a dead stranger

Second time in a month that North Manchester General Hospital has been forced to apologise after a case of mistaken identity

Published 13/11/2015

The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said they are 'deeply sorry'
The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said they are 'deeply sorry'

A woman sobbed over the body of a stranger after hospital nurses mistakenly said her mother was dead.

Bernadette Walsh reportedly spent 25 minutes stroking and holding the dead woman's hand at North Manchester General Hospital - until nurses revealed her mum was actually alive on another ward.

It was only when nurses told Ms Walsh "Roy's on his way" and she said she didn't know anyone named Roy the mistake began to unravel.

Nurses said her mother had been moved out of the room where she had been for the previous week and replaced by another patient who later died.

Ms Walsh told the Manchester Evening News: “No-one told me she’d been moved so I went into the room to visit her, the same room she’d been in all week.

"Mum’s duffle coat was on the chair. The woman in the bed had grey hair and had thin bones like my mum. She had a pink nightie like my mum. I had no reason to think it wasn’t mum.

“She didn’t look right and I didn’t think she was breathing. I went out of the room to ask one of the nurses what was wrong and they said ‘don’t you know? She died half-an-hour ago’.

“The nurses were saying I should stroke her hand and show her some love. So I was holding her hand and stroking her. I called my sister and told her she was dead."

Ms Walsh has lodged an official complaint but hasn't told her mother, Elizabeth Walsh, 82, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease.

Gill Harris, chief nurse at The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said: "We are deeply sorry about the traumatic circumstances surrounding Ms Walsh’s visit to ward I5 Orthopaedics at North Manchester General Hospital on 29 October.

"This is unacceptable and we have been in contact with the family to offer our unreserved apology and to discuss what happened so that we can learn from this mistake and ensure that it does not happen again."

Earlier this month, another hospital in Dorset was forced to apologise after a grieving daughter gave her dead mother a goodbye kiss before being told by staff she was still alive and they had given her the wrong body.


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