A Victorian hospital and police have apologised after a family found out a man had been dead for a week only after they reported him missing.
Jeffrey Conway, 64, was taken to emergency at University Hospital Geelong after reportedly suffering a heart attack at Two Sugars café on September 20. He died in hospital but his family were not notified.
Tiettu Popping, a waitress at the café, went to visit the loyal customer in hospital two days later. She said hospital staff told her Mr Conway received treatment and was sent home, Nine News reported.
Four days later on September 26, Mr Conway’s sister called the café looking for him. It was then she learned he had been in hospital.
Nine News reported Mr Conway’s sister was also told by the hospital he had been discharged and on September 27, a week after he was admitted to the Geelong hospital, she reported him missing. Police eventually located the man’s body at the coroner’s morgue in Melbourne.
Victoria Police confirmed on Thursday it was looking into how such a major mishap could have occurred.
“We're certainly chasing it up today and trying to give family as much information as we can from our side of things,” Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton told 3AW.
"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.”
Barwon Health said the death was referred to the coroner after Mr Conway’s relatives were not able to be contacted.
“Once referred to the coroner, it is the role of the police and the coroner to work together to notify the family,” the health service said in a statement.
“The police also attempted to contact the next of kin, and we are advised that they attended the last known address of the next of kin. The emergency department staff also contacted the patient's listed GP.”
Health Minister Jenny Mikakos and Premier Daniel Andrews both apologised to the family.
“I've asked my department to contact Barwon Health as a matter of urgency to seek some explanations about these very serious allegations,” Ms Mikakos told reporters.
“The matter is very concerning, I'm very troubled by what has been alleged.”
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