It was a surreal moment: the family of 82-year-old Maria Irene Oliveira were paying their last respects at her funeral when fire-fighters marched into the church with an order to stop proceedings, signed by the Public Prosecutor. The body of the woman was taken out of its casket and removed for an autopsy, as friends and relatives watched open-mouthed.
“It was horrible seeing firemen take my grandmother away in a bag,” 23-year-old Patrícia Garcia told Correio da Manhã newspaper – while other funeral goers all guaranteed that the elderly woman had died from natural causes.
The problem stemmed from the death certificate, explained Correio da Manhã. Written by a doctor treating Maria Oliveira for heart trouble and diabetes, it did not specify the cause of death, thus a magistrate decided the doctor should have recommended an autopsy.
“It’s appalling,” said relatives, who are now considering suing the doctor, says the newspaper – adding that the deceased, who lived in Águeda, in the district of Aveiro, had only last week been to a doctor’s appointment because of the “serious heart problems” that she suffered.