THERE was drama at Rusape General Hospital’s Covid-19 isolation centre last week as relatives of an elderly woman who had succumbed to the virus begged authorities to search her body and retrieve the US$2 000 she allegedly had on her before placing her corpse in a body bag.
The Headlands woman (name withheld) is said to have been in her 60s.
It is believed the money was part of her savings made from money received from her children and relatives who are based outside the country.
A body bag, also known as a human remains pouch or cadaver bag, is designed to stop the spread of Covid-19.
A well-placed source at the hospital said the family started arguing over the money once doctors had recommended the admission of the elderly woman who had tested positive to Covid-19 on Friday.
The woman, who was experiencing shortness of breathe, is said to have flatly refused to hand over her money to any relative due to mistrust.
“Some relatives, including her children, requested to keep the money for her but she flatly refused. She insisted that she would keep it, even if it meant dying with it on her.
“Repeated pleas from both relatives and hospital staff fell on deaf ears. She said she trusted noone among her relatives. They eventually admitted her with all her money,” said the source.
After the admission, the woman’s relatives left the isolation centre hoping to visit her the following day.
Unfortunately, the woman died during that night.
“When the relatives were notified of her death, they reminded the hospital staff about the money and pleaded with the authorities who were on night duty to suspend placing her corpse in a body bag until they could recover the money. Luckily the money was found and was handed over to the relatives the following day. The relatives were really relieved,” said the source.
Efforts to get a comment from the deceased’s relatives were fruitless as they refused to entertain the media.
Makoni District Medical Officer, Dr Tendai Nyafesa, could neither confirm nor deny the incident.
“It is something that was not brought to my attention. However, most grannies always have money on them. Money can be retrieved, sanitised and used again; and that has to be done before the corpse is put in the body bag. Once the body is in the body bag, that is it.
“If they were able to recover the money there is nothing wrong because US$2 000 is a lot of money. It can go a long way in assisting with funeral arrangements and other things,” said Dr Nyafesa. – Manica Post