‘I spent three days looking for my dead dad after care home blunder’


Mandy Phillips, 60, from Thames Ditton, Surrey, was forced to track down her dad’s body alone after he died suddenly at Albany Park Nursing Home, in Enfield, London

Mandy Phillips spent three days searching for her dad’s body

A woman spent three days desperately searching for her father’s body after a care home blunder.

Mandy Phillips said she was ‘flabbergasted’ when her dad’s nursing home mistakenly said he had been taken away by her funeral directors.

However, Ms Phillips, 60, from Thames Ditton, Surrey, had not booked any undertakers as her 84-year-old father Brian’s death was classified as ‘unexpected’ by paramedics.

This meant he had to be collected by a different funeral director, which was acting on behalf of the coroner.

Floyd and Son Funeral Directors, who was contracted by the coroner to transport the body, said the care home should have told Ms Phillips where her dad’s body was being taken.

However, she was forced to track down Brian’s body alone after Albany Park Nursing Home, in Enfield, London, gave her the name of the undertakers and nothing else.

Ms Phillips said: “The care home assumed he had been handed to my undertakers.

“I said ‘no he hasn’t, my undertaker is not allowed to take him until the coroner has seen the body’. I asked them if they’d handed his body from him to any old undertaker.

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Brian’s body was taken away by an undertaker acting on behalf of the coroner


Mandy Phillips)

Ms Phillips was shocked that the care home had no idea of ​​the whereabouts of her dad’s body


Mandy Phillips)

“They gave me the name of the funeral directors and I had to look up their number – I remember Googling it.

“For three days I was searching for my dad, I was so shocked about what was going on grief didn’t really come into it.

“I was thinking ‘where is he?’ My brother joked saying maybe it wasn’t him, maybe he had gone into another room in the care home because he couldn’t get the football on the telly.”

The siblings even joked that the wrong body might turn up at the funeral like in the opening scene of the 2007 film Death at a Funeral.

Ms Phillips said: “The care home had no idea where he was. I was flabbergasted and angry. The only thing they knew was the name of the undertakers who collected dad.

“I would expect a care home to know what mortuary he had been taken to and who the undertakers were. I got the impression they didn’t after they said my undertakers had collected him.

“I don’t think they passed over any of my contact details. The coroner said they had no contact details for me.”

Brian died of suspected Covid in Albany Park Nursing Home on January 16


Google Streetview)

After the care home gave her the name of the coroner’s undertakers, Floyd and Son Funeral Directors, she rang them and found out her dad’s body had been taken to Haringey Mortuary.

Her fruit and veg trader father died of suspected Covid on January 16 last year but it was not until January 18 that she was able to get through to the mortuary and confirm his body was there.

She added: “I had to ring up the mortuary because I needed to know – because of what had gone on before – that he was there. I wanted to make sure, you stop trusting what you hear.

“My dad died on the Saturday and I got through to the mortuary on the Monday.

“They confirmed they had his body and said I needed to contact the coroner’s office to make an appointment (to pursue a death certificate).

“I sent them an email and a woman rang me on Tuesday saying she was so glad I contacted her because they had no contact details for me.”

Discussing Brian’s death, Ms Phillips revealed that paramedics attempted to resuscitate him even though he previously had a ‘do not resuscitate’ order in hospital.

The order was not transferred to Albany Park when he was discharged from hospital just over two weeks before his death.

After the resuscitation efforts failed, the ambulance crew called the police as Brian’s death was unexpected and therefore needed to be investigated.

The police deemed it was not suspicious and rang the coroner service, who in turn organized for Floyd and Son Funeral Directors to collect Brian’s body, Ms Phillips said.

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She is only speaking out now because she does not want another person to go through the same order as her.

“Part of me feels guilty about complaining. I know it was a terrible December and January with the second wave, I know how hard everyone was working and how stressed people were,” she said.

“But if I don’t say something it’s going to happen again.”

Ms Phillips emphasized that she has no issue with Floyd and Son Funeral Directors as they were helpful in her time of need.

Dean Floyd, of Floyd and Son Funeral Directors, said: “When we arrive at the care home, we introduce ourselves as Floyd and Son, we advise the manager that we are here to collect (the name of the deceased) and they take our details down.

“We advise them we are taking the deceased to wherever has been requested by the coroner. In this instance Haringey Public Mortuary.

“The care home should have a duty of care to relay that information to the next of kin. Floyd and Son would not have knowledge of this information.

“The care home should have given the mortuary number – we never bring a deceased back to Floyd’s.

“What’s appalling is the number is not manned over the weekend, where our number is, so any of my staff would have been able to advise where Mr Phillips was, but they would not have been able to speak to the Coroner’s office or Mortuary until Monday morning.

“At the very least the care home should have said Floyd and Son collected the late Brian Phillips, and given them our telephone number and we could have advised the next of kin.”

Enfield Council launched a safeguarding probe into the case and concluded that in the future the care home should ensure families receive the correct information about undertakers.

The council, which does not run the care home, declined to comment when approached by The Mirror.

Albany Park Nursing Home was approached for comment.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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