Parkridge pays to exhume casket, retrieve wrongly-buried dentures
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Parkridge Medical Center has agreed to pay the costs to exhume the casket of a Chattanooga man, after his hospital room-mate's dentures were interred with him, by mistake.
"Our hearts go out to the family of Mister Manis, for the loss of a loved one," Parkridge spokeswoman Allison Counts reads from a prepared statement. "The hospital inadvertently gave his family his personal belongings, and those of another patient."
Kenneth Ray Manis, 76, died at Parkridge June 12. He was laid to rest in Chattanooga National Cemetery three days later.
"At the request of the Manis family, Parkridge has agreed to exhume the coffin and to retrieve the personal belongings," says Counts.
"You have to go to court first," attorney Jerry Summers says.
Summers isn't involved in this case. Eyewitness News sought his counsel and perspective of the legal issues involved.
"Typically, you need a family's permission to open a grave, except in criminal cases," Summers says. "But Tennessee also has rules and regulations that govern the operation of cemeteries."
Per the Manis family's request, Hamilton County Chancellor W. Frank Brown III issued an order Tuesday, directing Advantage Funeral and Crematory, and Franklin-Strickland, Pinkard, Bryan and Smith Funeral Directors to disinter and rebury Kenneth Manis no later than Friday, citing " a substantial likelihood of greater harm if the relief sought is not granted."
Eyewitness News attempt to reach the Manis family through officials with the cemetery and the funeral home. The family has asked that its privacy be respected; declining comment on any of the circumstances that led to the court-ordered exhumation.
"The main issue is not disrespecting the dead," Summers says. "And obviously, this family did not feel comfortable with the articles buried in the decedent's casket."
Parkridge will pay the full costs of exhumation, legal fees, and a set of replacement dentures for Manis' roommate.
Counts declined to estimate what the bill would be.
"It is our intention that this will bring peace and closure to the Manis family," Counts says.