The man reportedly opened his eyes and moved his limbs while in a body bag at the mortuary
Kevin Reid, who was in a hospital south of Perth, was allegedly alive when he was placed in a body bag and transported to the morgue on September 5.
Business News reports that the man’s death was not confirmed by a doctor, and he was brought to the hospital’s mortuary after nurses believed he had died.
The following day, after an organ donation organisation contacted the hospital for permission to take the man's organs, a doctor was required to certify his death.
When the doctor at Rockingham General Hospital went to confirm that the man was deceased he discovered fresh blood on the patient’s hospital gown, found two of his limbs had “moved” and claimed his eyes were open.
Immediately, alarm bells began to ring, raising concerns for the doctor that the man was still alive when he was placed into the body bag.
Hospital staff confirmed that his eyes were closed at the time his last rites were administered. He was then placed in a resting position and dressed in a clean gown before he was moved from the hospital ward to the mortuary.
Upon issuing a death certificate, the doctor recorded the date of death as September 6, rather than September 5.
The story came to light when the funeral director questioned the hospital about the date on the death certificate because family members were told that Mr Reid had passed away on September 5.
At that time, the doctor was asked by the hospital to backdate the certificate, to which they refused.
The doctor has now requested that the coroner investigate the incident.
In a report to the corner, the doctor noted: “I believe the frank blood from a new skin tear, arm position and eye signs were inconsistent with a person who was post-mortem on arrival at the morgue.”
“I also specifically asked about open disclosure and coronial discussions to which I was told the executive team would ensure this occurred if deemed necessary,” the report continued.
The Australian Medical Association have described the case as “deeply alarming”.
However, the South Metropolitan Health Service chief executive said he was satisfied that the man was dead and blamed the anomalies on “unexpected events that can occur post-mortem.”