A family and police spent a week searching for a Victorian man who had died in hospital.
Victoria Police confirmed on Thursday the force is looking into the case after receiving a missing person’s report on September 27, seven days after the man died at University Hospital Geelong.
The man, aged in his 50s, was brought in to emergency for a heart attack on September 20 and died, but staff attempts to contact the next of kin were unsuccessful.
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Barwon Health says it notified police of the death and the body was sent to the coroner’s mortuary in Melbourne.
“As the case was an unexpected death and the relatives could not be contacted, the matter was referred to the coroner,” the health service said in a statement.
“Once referred to the coroner, it is the role of the police and the coroner to work together to notify the family.
“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.”
Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said police were following up the bungle.
“We’re certainly chasing it up today and trying to give family as much information as we can from our side of things,” Mr 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.”
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.”
© AAP 2019