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B.C. woman sues after funeral home misplaces father's body before burial

“Upon unwrapping the body, it became abundantly clear to the plaintiff that the body was not that of the deceased,” according to a claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court

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Photo by Arlen Redekop /PNG

A woman is suing Vancouver Coastal Health and a funeral home after they temporarily lost the body of her father.

Nooshin Mozafar said she suffered nervous shock and post-traumatic stress after she discovered the body she was told was her father’s was someone else, according to a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court.

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Her father, Aliakbar Mozafar, 91, with whom Mozafar was close, died at Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver on Nov. 4, 2021.

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The defendants are VCH, Oliveira Funeral Home of Port Coquitlam, and Heath Transfer Services, a Surrey company contracted by Oliveira to transfer the body to the mosque for the Muslim funeral rituals of cleaning and wrapping the body before burial.

Four days after his death, Mozafar went to the mosque to view her father’s body.

“Upon unwrapping the body, it became abundantly clear to the plaintiff that the body was not that of the deceased,” according to the claim.

The defendants insisted it was, the claim said. “It was not until she was permitted to verify that it was not him, through identification of specific body parts, that the mosque agreed with her,” the claim said.

“Eventually, Heath Transfer and Oliveira accepted that the deceased’s body was missing and advised they would search for it,” it said.

The body was eventually found “after an exhaustive search” and her father was buried at Capilano View Cemetery two days later, it said.

Despite her repeated requests, VCH hasn’t offered an explanation about what happened, “causing further pain and suffering,” said the claim.

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She alleges the defendants were negligent and VCH is vicariously liable for its employees and agents.

She said the Oliveira and Heath Transfer were negligent by failing to confirm the identity of the deceased or keep track of the body, suggesting she “was mistaken about identifying her own father,” failing to properly train staff and failing to properly communicate with others that day.

And VCH was negligent because it failed to properly handle or store the deceased’s remains, confirm the identity or keep track of the body or to train staff, the claim said.

Mozafar is claiming damages for pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life, special damages and an award for future care expenses, the claim said.

None of the allegations have been proven in court and the defendants have not filed a response.

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