Sunday 9th May 1993 Sunday Morning 10:00

“Another patient has woken up in the hospital mortuary, Desmond.” Mum was reading Friday’s Portmere Post. “Apparently, he had been there for two days.”
“I have always dreaded that,” said my Dad. “Imagine pronouncing someone dead and then finding out that they have come round in the undertaker’s or, even worse, at the funeral. It would be so embarrassing. What would the mourners say?”
“If that happened to you, Desmond, I am sure Harri Owen would make it seem like a miraculous resurrection rather than another medical error.”
“Yes,  a good minister is worth his weight in gold, Daphne. Mind you, I think that these incidents are much more common than we realise. I will never forget John Briggs, the builder?”
“I don’t think you told me about John.”
“Yes, I did. Trefor Own was the undertaker. On the day of the funeral, he checked Mr Briggs for one final time before nailing the coffin shut. He wanted to make sure everything was exactly as it should be. He found John’s arms up, over his chest, as if he had been reaching for his neck. The top button of his shirt was undone!”
“Trefor had probably forgotten that he had left him like that, Desmond.”
“Trefor would never do that, Daphne. He was always meticulous and John hated a tight collar. He never wore a formal shirt. Well, Trefor went to get his wife’s compact mirror. Even though he couldn’t see Mr Briggs’ chest moving, there was a hint of condensation on the glass. He called an ambulance at once. Mr Briggs was taken up to the hospital. It was another three weeks before he died properly. He was already riddled with cancer so there wasn’t much they could do.”
“Who was the doctor?”
“It was old Iorwerth ap Ieuan who had confirmed death the first time. He was in his eighties, then. He was as deaf as a post and never changed the batteries in his hearing aids. I would be surprised if he could hear anyone’s heart beating. Both the lenses in his spectacles were cracked so he couldn’t see much either. By the time he had climbed the stairs to see those poor, terminally ill patients of his, he would be gasping for breath and struggling to talk. He was in almost as precarious a position as they were.”
“Was he struck off, Desmond?”
“No, everyone felt sorry for him. He had only continued working because they couldn’t find a replacement.”
My Dad looked thoughtfully at the remainder of Mum’s toast and honey. He had already finished his own breakfast.

“I was talking to Morris Price the other day.”
“Morris Price?” Mum asked.
“Yes, Morris Price. He works in the crematorium.”
“I don’t think I know him.”
“Yes, you do. He is Lynne Mathias’ brother. Anyway, he was telling me that it is not unusual for them to hear terrible screams as the oven doors are closing.”
“Desmond!” Mum gasped, “I don’t believe you!”
“That’s what he told me, Daphne. It is not something either of us would joke about.” My Dad reached over and picked up Mum’s last bit of toast.

Another patient has woken up in the hospital mortuary.