An elderly woman from Headlands (name withheld) was determined to go down to the grave with US$2 000 strapped to her body after she was admitted at Rusape General Hospital’s COVID-19 isolation centre last week.
The woman, believed to have been in her 60s, later succumbed to COVID-19, prompting her relatives to beg authorities to search her body and retrieve the money before placing her corpse in a body bag.
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A body bag, also known as a human remains pouch or cadaver bag, is designed to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The family members reportedly started arguing over the money once doctors had recommended the admission of the elderly woman who had tested positive to COVID-19 on Friday last week.
The woman, who was experiencing shortness of breath, is said to have refused to hand over her money to any relative due to mistrust. Manica Post was told:
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 no one among her relatives. They eventually admitted her with all her money.
After the admission, the woman’s relatives left the isolation centre hoping to visit her the following day, but she died that night.
The relatives reportedly pleaded with the authorities who were on night duty to suspend placing her corpse in a body bag until they could recover the money.
The US$2 000 was found and was handed over to the relatives the following day.
Efforts to get a comment from the deceased’s relatives by Manica Post were fruitless as they refused to entertain the media.
Meanwhile, Makoni District Medical Officer, Dr Tendai Nyafesa, could neither confirm nor deny the incident. He said:
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.