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Mum's body left in mortuary freezer at Glasgow hospital for six weeks as staff forgot about her


Charlene McGregor who died unexpectedly at the QEUH in March (Image: COLLECT)


A family are demanding answers after a mum-of-four’s body was left in a mortuary freezer at Scotland’s flagship hospital for six weeks because staff forgot about her.

And because she had been in the freezer for so long, the post-mortem examination into her unexpected hospital death was inconclusive.

Police ordered toxicology tests which revealed she had died of a methadone overdose but Charlene McGregor’s family are baffled about how this happened and the hospital so far has offered no explanation.

Charlene, 41, was taken into hospital for treatment to a cyst behind her ear. She was put on antibiotics and there were plans to remove the cyst.

But at 6am on March 12 she was found dead in her hospital bed.

Staff told her family she would need a post-mortem but were then informed it may take a bit longer than normal because of Covid. Her brother William said the mum of four was a drug user and was on a methadone programme.

He added: “She didn’t have the best life but had been going with the same guy for 10 years and was beginning to turn her life around. NHS Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow. (Image: Jane Barlow/PA Wire)“We didn’t have much to do with her because of her drug issues but she was on a methadone programme and her prescription had been reduced. She genuinely seemed to want to take steps away from drugs.

“But she shouldn’t have died the way she did and we still don’t know why it happened.

“The night before she passed away she had been asking the nurses to give her anything to help her sleep. That was at about 2am. By 6am, she was dead.”


William from Drumoyne, in Glasgow’s south side, added: “She was obviously given methadone in the early hours because it was a very quick death.”

The family knew they would have to wait a bit longer than normal for post-mortem results but when they had heard nothing after six weeks, they contacted the hospital.

William said: “The hospital then contacted the family and said they needed to conduct an emergency family meeting.


Credit: Alamy


“My partner and my mum went to it and were told, ‘We can’t apologise enough’ that she was still in the mortuary and hadn’t been sent for a post-mortem.

“They said they forgot about her. Right away, the alarm bells started.

“They said because she had been lying there in a freezer for six weeks the post-mortem could come back inconclusive. And that’s exactly what happened.

“I can’t help wondering if we hadn’t contacted them would my sister still be lying there?

“And did they deliberately leave her there for six weeks because they knew someone had made a mistake and if she was in the freezer that long a post-mortem wouldn’t find it?

“I think they thought because my sister was a junkie the family wouldn’t take things further. But she didn’t deserve that.”

It took two months before the family were able to have a funeral because of the post-mortem delay and waiting for toxicology reports.



William added: “When toxicology came back, it said the cause of death was methadone overdose.