Why was this man pulled out of his coffin?

Photo shared on social media.
Photo shared on social media.

A strange scene took place in the “Community 9” cemetery in Tema, a city to the east of the Ghanian capital, on Saturday, February 11. Two men pried open the coffin and pulled out the body of a man who was about to be buried. They then left the cemetery, carrying the body. This was the dramatic culmination of a financial dispute between the morgue and the family of the deceased.

According to local media, two men came to the cemetery to take the body from the coffin. A video that has circulated widely on social media shows an empty, open coffin lying on the ground and two men walking away, carrying a body on their shoulders.

Video posted by Adom TV on Youtube.

Understandably, witnesses to the scene were shocked.

However, whatever the disputes, the body was eventually laid to rest. Other videos show these two men putting the body back into the coffin, under the gaze of numerous witnesses.

This video shows the same scene as the previous video, but at a different angle. 

"This incident has tarnished the hospital’s reputation"

The FRANCE 24 Observers team contacted Kwabena Opoku-Adusei, the director general of the general hospital in Tema, which includes the morgue.

One of the two men that you see carrying the body in the footage is a hospital employee who works at the morgue. The other man works for a private funeral home.

Generally, when someone dies, the medical examiner and the hospital administrator sign a document then they turn the body over to the family. Next, the family can ask for the morgue at the hospital to prepare the body for burial, a service which usually costs around $10 [roughly 9.40 euros].

The morgue employee said that the family picked up their relative's body at the morgue without paying while he was taking care of other bodies. He chased them down and did what he did because of the money they owed. 

However, the money was quickly handed over at the cemetery [Editor’s note: by family friends, according to local media].

The two men returned the body to the family, who were finally able to put him to rest.

Our employee was not fired [Editor’s note: contrary to several media reports]. However, he got a warning, because this incident has tarnished the hospital’s reputation. In any case, this is the first time in my life that I have ever heard of something like this happening.