Woman returns home 18 days after family buries body in Covid wraps

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On May 15, Muthyala Gaddayya buried the wrapped body of his wife, Muthyala Gadayya, who had apparently died of Covid at a Vijayawada hospital in Andhra Pradesh. Around a fortnight later, the family organised a memorial service for her on June 1. The next day, to the shock of the family and the village, the 70-year-old woman returned home.

This bizarre turn of events was reported from Christianpet village of Jaggaiyapet mandal in Andhra’s Krishna district.

The elderly woman was admitted to the Government General Hospital, Vijayawada, for Covid treatment on May 12. Gaddayya would regularly visit her. On May 15, however, he did not find her in the Covid ward. He looked in other wards as well but could not locate her.

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He was eventually told by the nurses there that she must have succumbed. At the hospital mortuary, he was handed over a wrapped body of an elderly woman. The heartbroken man took the body to his native village and performed the last rites on the same day.

Days later, on May 23, the family received the news that their 35-year-old son, Muthyala Ramesh, too, had succumbed to Covid in a Khammam district hospital.

The shattered family organised rituals and a memorial service for both Ms Girijamma and Mr Ramesh on June 1, only for her to return the next day.

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Ms Girijamma was sad and disappointed that no one had come to take her home after recovery. The hospital provided her ₹ 3,000 to return home, according to her. Her family and people in her village said they had not taken a look at the body in wraps that they had buried earlier, fearing Covid infection.

Jaggaiyapet Sub-Inspector KV Rama Rao said no case was booked for the gross error on the part of the Vijayawada hospital.