Family says Houston hospital sent brother's body to the wrong funeral home

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by Rucks Russell / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on March 26, 2013 at 6:13 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 26 at 6:20 PM

HOUSTON — The loss of a loved one is painful enough. But one family is blaming a local hospital for adding to their grief.

“This should never have happened,” said Maudrena Williams, as she clasped photos of her now deceased brother.

Danny Brown died at Memorial Hermann Hospital on March 9. The 51-year-old passed away when his kidneys stopped functioning.

His loved ones assumed that the body would be moved to the funeral home they had selected to care for his remains. But the hospital sent him to Woodlawn Cemetery by mistake.

Workers there embalmed the body and sat down to meet with the family of the person they thought they had received.

But that family was white and Brown was an African American.

“We noticed that there was a different ancestry,” said Scott Cheffey, the Woodlawn’s general manager. “There was just no way the person could be from the same family.”

Cheffey said they immediately called the hospital and took the body back. When they tried to get answers, he said the hospital seemed a bit caught off guard.

“They said, ‘Well, maybe we’ll call you guys back,’ and I thought this isn’t something you just brush aside,” Cheffey added.

For several hours that day, Brown’s family had no idea where their loved one’s body had been taken.

“This was very painful,” said Williams.

A hospital spokesperson issued an apology to the family and called the incident an “aberration.”

Brown’s relatives hope this never happens to another family.

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