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Homel Man Gets Notified About His Mother’s Death, It Turns Out She’s Alive During Funeral

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Homel Man Gets Notified About His Mother’s Death, It Turns Out She’s Alive During Funeral

There was another person in the coffin.

The story happened three years ago, but we learned about it only after the publication of the decision of the Central District Court of Homel, which considered on January 19 the man’s claim against a health care institution for compensation for material and moral damage. The civil registry office department and the administration of the Savetski district of Homel were brought in as co-defendants, writes Silnyje Novosti.

On February 25, 2021, an elderly woman was taken to one of the Homel hospitals (in the case materials we are talking about a hospital). On February 27, the hospital called her son and informed him of his mother’s death.

The Homel resident received a death certificate from the registry office, after which he began organizing the funeral, paying for all services, including for the funeral table in one of the cafes. The funeral was supposed to take place on March 1. At that time, coronavirus restrictions were in force in Belarus. Probably for this reason, relatives and friends saw the face of the deceased only right before the farewell.

“During the funeral service, differences in appearance were revealed, after which, when going to the hospital, I learned that my mother was alive and in the hospital,” the man said in the statement of claim.

Additionally, he indicated that the news of death, which was communicated to him erroneously, caused him moral suffering, “which two years later still causes adverse mental experiences.”

The Homel resident asked the court to compensate for the material damage caused in the amount of 1,877 rubles. This amount included the cost of funeral supplies and services for organizing the funeral: a place at the cemetery, ordering a table in a cafe, the cost of purchasing food and state duty.

As the plaintiff’s representative reported in court, “the purchased ritual supplies, food and portions for the funeral table were disposed of for religious reasons.”

The man estimated his moral damage at 20 thousand rubles. He asked to recover another 176 rubles as legal expenses incurred during the consideration of a civil case by the Savetski District Court on a claim to annul the record of the death of his mother.

The positions of the defendants in the court document are presented as follows:

“The representative of the defendant Homel Hospital Healthcare Institution admitted the claims for compensation for material damage in full, but believed that there were no grounds for compensation for moral damage. The representative of the defendant, the administration of the Savetski district of Homel, did not recognize the claims. The representative of the Civil Registry Office did not admit the claims, pointing out that the cancellation of a civil status record is carried out only in court.”

What did the court decide and how did the mistake occur?

As a result, the district court concluded that the plaintiff suffered both material and moral damage. The hospital is to pay 1,701.36 rubles in his favor as compensation for material damage, and 5,000 rubles as material compensation for moral damage. Another 196 rubles were recovered in favor of the Homel resident from the doctors and the administration of the Savetski district for legal expenses incurred. Part of the claim against the Civil Registry Office was denied.

The reasoning for the district court's decision briefly explains how this monstrous error occurred:

“Given the materials of the internal investigation of the Homel Hospital Healthcare Institution, it was established that due to the transportation of patients without medical documentation, employees of the health care institution mixed up the names of the patients, which resulted in an erroneous message on February 27, 2021 to the plaintiff, who is K.’s son, about her death. In connection with violations identified during the provision of medical care, the guilty employees of the healthcare institution were brought to disciplinary liability.”

And one more nuance. Officially, according to the papers, after a medical error, the Homel resident was listed as dead for two months. On February 27, 2021, she allegedly died and only on April 26, the Savetski District Court reinstated her on the list of living people, canceling the death certificate by its decision.

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