Connect with us

Phuket

Corpse confusion: mix-up in Phuket morgue

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

Corpse confusion: mix-up in Phuket morgue | The Thaiger
  • follow us in feedly

PHUKET: Mourners at the funeral of a British man in Chalong were shocked to discover that the corpse handed over to them by staff at Vachira Phuket Hospital was not his, but that of an unidentified Westerner.

William John “Bill” Young, 61, of Ipswich, England, passed away in his sleep on Friday, September 3, a friend told the Gazette.

Friends of Mr Young, who was a well-known and experienced marine engineer living in Chalong, went to Vachira Phuket Hospital with his widow on Tuesday to retrieve the body for the funeral ceremony, a friend said.

At the Vachira morgue, the group were taken to a body on a gurney in the reception area and told by staff that it was Mr Young.

One friend of 20 years said that as they pulled back the sheet, “I was shocked to see my old friend looking so bad, even for a dead bloke. He looked unrecognizable – much thinner.”

Their suspicions were assuaged by Vachira staff, who assured them that the “unrecognizable” body on the gurney was indeed that of their friend.

Another cause for concern arose when a staff member gave them a bag said to contain Bill’s belongings. They were not his things, the friend said.

Saying they would find his belongings later, staff loaded “Bill” into a coffin. The remains were taken to Wat Lati Wanaram in Chalong for his scheduled funeral service.

After they arrived, the coffin lid was taken off for photographs. The mourners, immediately surprised by the condition and appearance of the body, began to question whether or not it really was that of their friend Mr Young.

Many theories were put forward, but the prevailing sentiment was that the body was not that of Mr Young.

The family of Mr Young’s wife removed the bracelet on the body and discovered that it listed the identify of the deceased as “unknown”, with an estimated age of 35.

By that point, the monks were already chanting as word spread that the body was not Mr Young’s.

A friend called Chalong police to report the incident.

Shortly thereafter they received a call from Vachira Hospital confirming their suspicions: they had been given the wrong body.

They were asked by Vachira to bring the body back to the mortuary, where they could “swap” it for the real remains of their departed friend.

The friend said, “Some people were angry and others were laughing. Bill would have said, ‘I’m not surprised, are you?’ – and we were not.”

The unidentified body was loaded into a private vehicle and taken back to Vachira Hospital, where hospital staff apologized wholeheartedly for the mix-up, the friend said.

Dr Weerawat Yorsaengrat, deputy director of Vachira Phuket Hospital told the Gazette, “We admitted it was our mistake and rushed to prepare the body [Mr Young’s] for them to pick up before nightfall. In Thai culture it’s considered bad to take a body out at night.

His wife came to pick up the body. She understood the mistake and even thanked us for hurrying to send the body out. Vachira Hospital apologizes to the family for this mistake,” Dr Weerawat said.

After retrieving the correct body, friends and family of Mr Young took his remains to the temple, where the cremation ceremony took place Wednesday afternoon.

Mr Young arrived on Phuket in 1991, working with a Norwegian tour boat company. He was well-known in Chalong, where he was often consulted for his expertise in marine engineering.

He is survived by his wife of five years, his friend said.

In response to questions about the unidentified body, Dr Weerawat told the Gazette that such mix-ups most often occur in cases when unidentified bodies are brought to the hospital by police.

It is normal for the Vachira morgue to house the remains of at least one unidentified Caucasian foreigner, he said.

— N. Altstadt & S. Nongkaew

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.



Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Phuket. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Weather

Strong wind and waves this morning closes Phuket’s beaches, one swimmer rescued

The Thaiger

Published

on

Strong wind and waves this morning closes Phuket’s beaches, one swimmer rescued | The Thaiger

Phuket’s Rawai Mayor, Aroon Solos, ordered all beaches in the area to close after a foreigner was rescued this morning after being unable to make it back to shore. The foreigner was swimming off Ao Sane beach, just north of the popular Nai Harn Beach, when lifeguards were sent out to help bring him back to shore. The recent weather has been partly attributed to Tropical Storm Noul as other beaches areas around Patong have been closed since Friday. Mayor Aroon ordered both the Nai Harn and Ya Nui beaches closed until further notice. Noul crossed over the Vietnamese coastline […]

Continue Reading

Thailand

Phuket residents going hungry after local government assistance runs out

The Thaiger & The Nation

Published

on

Phuket residents going hungry after local government assistance runs out | The Thaiger

Residents in Phuket, particularly those living in and around the west coast townships, are reportedly going hungry as the government’s municipal budget to provide food has been depleted. Despite efforts to revive tourism in the area, thousands of people are still in need of donated food to survive and continue to queue up for donated food every day. A public relations staff member at the Patong municipality says, sadly, there is no budget to do any more food handouts in the near future and that there is no word on when or if there will be any more handouts. The […]

Continue Reading

Weather

Heavy rain across the country this weekend – local forecasts

The Thaiger

Published

on

Heavy rain across the country this weekend – local forecasts | The Thaiger

Heavy rain is expected across much of Thailand over the next few days, mostly as a result of the intensity of a tropical storm crossing into Vietnam today, ‘Noul’, from the South China Sea. The low pressure cell will help intensify the effects of the south west monsoon too. But the remnants of the storm won’t “slam” into Northern Thailand as one news site claimed – rather it will be a lot of rain and increased winds. The storm is expected to cross into Thailand around the Mukdahan province some time early tomorrow, Around the country, Saturday will be the […]

Continue Reading
Follow The Thaiger by email:

Trending