Our guest blogger, a SGH medical social worker, tells us about the elderly who die without NOK to claim their bodies.
As he was unconscious, there was no way for us to find out any information from him. He had nothing on him – no identity card, wallet or handphone. All he had by his side when he was picked up were two packets of food. Since he was found at Jalan Bukit Merah where there are lots of rented flats, my first thought was that he had gone out to pack food for his wife, who could be bedridden at home. I was worried about the old man’s wife. I also wondered if he had children and if they knew he was missing. Here at the Medical Social Workers (MSW) department, it is our responsibility to establish patients' identities and trace their next-of-kin (NOK) with the help of the police. If no NOK can be found to claim the body, we would source for a charitable undertaker for the body to be cremated according to religious rites. With no information on the name and address of the old man p...