Grandpa who woke up in morgue fine

25 July 2011 - 12:09 By Sapa
A morgue - file picture.
A morgue - file picture.
Image: Jackie Clausen

An Eastern Cape grandfather, who woke up in a morgue after his family believed he was dead, has been discharged from hospital, a health official says.

"Doctors put him under observation and concluded he was stable. He did not need further treatment," said Eastern Cape health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo.

He said the man had suffered from dehydration after spending 21 hours inside the morgue of a private undertaker at Libode in the Transkei region on Sunday afternoon.

His family had presumed he was dead when they could not wake him up.

"The family called a private undertaker who took what they thought was a dead body to the morgue, but the man woke up inside the morgue on Sunday at 5pm and screamed, demanding to be taken out of the cold place."

Kupelo said the two mortuary attendants thought that they had heard a ghost.

"At first, the mortuary workers ran for their lives," said Kupelo.

The man was taken to Saint Barnabas hospital where he was discharged on Monday morning.

He had to go in for a check-up again on Thursday.

Kupelo said this incident showed that the funeral industry needed to be better regulated.

"We need to the message across to all South Africans that it is very wrong for them to conclude on their own that a person has died.

"You begin to you ask yourself, how many other people have died like that in a morgue."

If a member of the public thinks a family member is dead, he or she must first call an ambulance or the police who will then follow the correct processes.

Kupelo said that after the incident, the man's grandson apparently posted a note on social networking site Facebook.

"He got all defencive about it," said Kupelo.