The man who lay dead in a morgue while his frantic family searched for him after a hospital told them he was still alive has been identified.
Jeffrey Conway, 64, was at Two Sugars cafe in in Geelong, Victoria on September 20 when he suffered a heart attack and was rushed to hospital.
Mr Conway died but Barwon Health Hospital told his distraught family he was still alive.
They spent more than a week searching for him before the spectacular blunder was revealed.
Tiettu Popping, who works at Two Sugars, told Nine News they were told Mr Conway was unconscious and was unlikely to wake up.
Jeffrey Conway, 64, was at Two Sugars cafe in in Geelong, Victoria on September 20 when he suffered a heart attack and was rushed to hospital
Mr Conway died but Barwon Health Hospital told his distraught family he was still alive (left)
Just two days later, Ms Popping went to the hospital to check on Mr Conway but was told the 64-year-old had been discharged.
On September 26, Mr Conway’s sister called the cafe in a panic as she did not know her brother had been in hospital at all.
‘I double checked and made sure this was the right man,’ Ms Popping said.
‘Six days later I get a phone call at Two Sugars from his sister asking if he has come into the shop and have we seen him, she told the Geelong Advertiser.
‘I said he hadn’t come into the shop since his fall, I’ve checked the hospital and I’m pretty sure he’s gone home.
‘She had no idea that he had been discharged or was even in hospital.’
The following day, the hospital also told the 64-year-old’s sister that he had been discharged and she filed a missing persons report.
It was then revealed that Mr Conway had died seven days before the missing persons report was submitted.
Relatives of Mr Conway spent more than a week searching for him after they were told he had been discharged from Barwon Health Hospital in Geelong, Victoria
The investigation ended when police located his body in the morgue and officers are now looking into why the hospital failed to the family.
Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton told Melbourne radio 3AW on Thursday that the case is now being followed up to give the family as much information as possible.
‘This is clearly a case where there’s a mishap, in that the family haven’t been notified when they should’ve been notified, and we have to make sure we look at how we get that right,’ Mr Ashton said.
Barwon Health and Victoria Police are now liaising over the blunder, after they claimed police were contacted on the day Mr Conway died.
‘Barwon Health has unreservedly apologised for the distress caused by the delay and the manner in which the family was notified of their relative’s death,’ the hospital said in a statement.
Mr Conway, 64, was at Two Sugars cafe on September 20 when he collapsed and rushed to hospital, suffering from a heart attack
Two Sugars waitress Tiettu Popping (pictured) said she was told Mr Conway was unconscious in hospital
Mr Conway was at Two Sugars (pictured) when he collapsed and suffered a heart attack
While hospital staff attempted to contact Mr Conway’s next of kin multiple times, they had no luck and notified police.
‘We are awaiting advice regarding the internal communication between the police involved in the initial notification to police at the time of the patient’s death and the police involved in the coroner’s case,’ the statement said.
If someone dies in hospital, the hospital usually notifies next of kin but in this case there ‘might have been’ an issue.
‘The family have gone through a week of not knowing and having to deal with that, and then, in turn, having the ongoing grief they’ve got to go through compounded by it, so it’s a sad case indeed,’ Mr Ashton said.
Barwon Health Hospital (pictured) and Victoria Police are now liaising over the blunder, after they claimed police were contacted on the day Mr Conway died