Confusions marked operations at the Kiambu Level Five Hospital mortuary on Tuesday over body mix-up.
The mortuary ordered all male bodies released on Tuesday morning returned for identification.
The order was issued after a family failed to find the body of a kin at the mortuary, raising fears the attendants had mistakenly released it to another family.
Relatives who went to pick the body of Stephen Mburu for burial found it had been released.
The body of the elderly man had been preserved at the mortuary for six days and was scheduled to be buried at Karia village in Githunguri where mourners had already gathered for the ceremony.
“When we arrived at the mortuary this morning, we were given a body belonging to someone else and we rejected it. We demanded we be given Mburu’s body but it seemed that it had already been released to another family. We checked all the bodies which were at the facility at the time, but none of them belonged to my late husband,” said Mburu’s wife, Ms Njeri.
After a scuffle with the mortuary’s attendants, the hospital’s management ordered six male bodies that had been released since morning returned.
By 2pm, three bodies, one which was being buried in Kwa-Maiko in Githunguri about 16 kilometers from the facility and another one transported to Kanunga, about five kilometers away had been brought back.
A third body that was to be buried on the outskirts of Kiambu town was also returned.
But the three bodies were released to the families because none turned out to be that of Mburu.
Pastor Samuel Kiberege of the African Independent Pentecostal Church (AIPCA), and who was presiding a funeral service of Mr Karunga Njau at Kwa Maiko said they were about to lower the body in the grave when they received a call directing them to return the body at the mortuary.
He added: “It was not only embarrassing but also bizarre because we had to carry the casket back to the hearse and explain to the bereaved family and the mourners that we have to halt the service so that we could take back the body to the mortuary.”
After Mburu’s family confirmed that it was not his body, it was released and the burial took place past 3:30pm, three hours after the planned time.
Mburu’s family was forced to cancel burial plans and ask the mourners to disperse as they searched for his body.
Efforts to get a comment from the hospital medical superintendent, Dr Jesse Ngugi, were futile after he said he would not comment on the matter.