The body of a man, that had gone missing from Hyderabad's only government-run hospital designated for COVID-19 treatment earlier this week was buried by a different family who believed it to be of their relative, his family has alleged.
According to the family, the man was admitted to a private hospital in Hyderabad with breathlessness on Sunday.
The hospital asked for Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh a day to put him on a ventilator and even though the family could not afford it, they agreed, his father said.
On Tuesday, they were told that the patient needed to be shifted to the state-run Gandhi Hospital.
"My son had not tested coronavirus positive so we did not understand why he had to be shifted to the COVID-19 exclusive facility," the father said.
On Wednesday, the family was informed by Gandhi Hospital that the man had died. But when family members went to the hospital to identify the body, they could not find it.
"They showed me at least 13 bodies but none of that was my brother," the patient's brother said.
In a desperate appeal for help, the family posted a video online asking for the authorities to locate the body. "We would like to at least give [him] a ritual farewell. So please help us him," the family is heard pleading in the video that has been widely shared.
Now, the family say they have been informed that another family had buried the body.
"During the investigation, the local police have informed us that [his] body has already been buried by another family on June 10. Another person who died in Gandhi Hospital due to COVID-19, his family got confused and took his body to a graveyard and performed the final rituals," the brother said.
The incident is the second case of such a mix-up at the Gandhi Hospital this week. Three days ago, while performing the last rites of a 48-year-old man, his wife discovered that it was not her husband's body.
With coronavirus cases overwhelming medical facilities in many parts of the country, there have been reports of patients and bodies being misplaced or moved without information reaching the families.
Telangana has reported 4,320 coronavirus cases and 165 deaths.