A grieving woman who believed she buried her husband was shocked when he reportedly showed up alive and well four days after a funeral.
Victoria Sarmiento had spent several days looking for husband Julio after the 65-year-old failed to return home.
Concerned, Ms. Sarmiento, from El Carmen, Honduras, took his identification papers to the local hospital on December 30, where staff told her he had recently died of coronavirus.
She reportedly saw his body in the Hospital de Occidente morgue before being released for funeral.
Ms. Sarmiento hired funeral directors to take the man’s body 30 miles from the hospital to her rural village in the country’s western parish, San Nicolas, Copan, where troubled relatives were up all night before his funeral.
She said she paid 10,500 Lempiras (£ 320) for funeral expenses.
Ms. Sarmiento was still in mourning when husband Julio returned home four days later after being found injured in a field in the neighboring community of Trinidad.
He had gone for a walk but fell over and couldn’t get up. He stayed there for several days without eating or drinking.
Ms. Sarmiento told Honduras newspaper LaPrensa: “It wasn’t my husband who died because I now have my husband here. I recognized him.
“I want you to give me back what I spent because you gave me the body of someone I don’t know.
“The morgue authorities should have examined him properly to see if it really was him.”
The Hospital de Occident confirmed that the unidentified man she buried arrived at the hospital on December 27 in a serious condition with Covid-19.
He died a few hours later.
The hospital’s director, Juan Carlos Cardona, insisted it was the woman who falsely identified that the man was her husband.
He said, “The city’s emergency committee has been instructed to keep a patient dying of Covid in cold storage for six days in the event a family member shows up.
“Then the woman appears, brings his identity card with her, recognizes him and says he is her husband.”
He added that after staff members identified the body’s physical resemblance to the photo Ms. Sarmiento was carrying, they recognized the body itself in the hospital morgue.
He said, “With the proper security protocols, the plastic bag was opened and she said it was him. That’s why the body was released for her.”
According to the hospital, one of Julio’s children had called her to express doubts about the deceased after they opened the coffin on the day of the funeral, but later the ceremony continued despite their doubts.
Mr. Cardona said, “The logical thing was to bring the body back so we can investigate.
“But later the relatives called back and said he was the right person and they would bury him.
“We’ve documented everything. We even have an apology from one of the children if this turns into a lawsuit.”