A grieving Muslim family from Oldham say they had to wait five days for the body of a family member to be released from hospital.

Fazilat Sultana, 65, died after heart surgery at the Fairfield hospital in Bury, Greater Manchester. She had suffered with cancer for the past few years.

The much-loved mum and grandma to 14, died Friday 8 July but the body was not released until Wednesday 13 July. According to Islamic tradition a burial must take place as quickly as possible.

A hospital trust says it is now ‘investigating the circumstances surrounding the matter’ and has also apologised to the family for the delays experienced with the burial.

Mohammed Waqas, her son in law said: “Over the past year she has had three appointments for surgery but they were cancelled due to her high blood pressure. This time they said she was fine to go through with the operation involving stents. They said it would take an hour and she would be home by six in the evening.”

Mr Waqas said that following the death the family felt that they were not given suitable explanations of when the body would be released.

He said: “After she died, they made a lot of excuses for not releasing the body such as the ID not matching, they also said they had lost the consent form and they claimed that they didn’t know who the nurse on duty was at the time of death.

“They also said they had no record of her coming in for an operation. Mr Waqas added: “They phoned us to tell us that she was in critical condition, when we got there they said that surgery was done and she suffered a heart attack and died. We have received her death certificate but it doesn’t specify the cause of death.

“She went to the hospital in the morning, and by 12’o’clock we received a call saying she was in critical condition. When I went to the hospital she had passed away. We don’t know exactly what time as they haven’t said anything.”

He said initially, normal coroners were involved, then the police coroners got involved.

Mr Waqas said: “We spoke to a coroner from Rochdale. We also spoke to five or six different members of staff at the Fairfield hospital ward. It is a traumatic experience and we don’t want anyone else to go through this.

“She has left behind five children and 14 grandchildren who are grief stricken, my daughter is unable to sleep. You wouldn’t wish it on your enemy.”

Dr Vicki Howarth, Medical Director, Bury Care Organisation, said: “I would like to offer my condolences to Mrs Sultana’s family for their sad loss and apologise for the delays they have experienced regarding releasing her body for burial.

“We are working to understand what has caused the delay and we will remain in contact with the family throughout and continue to support them through this difficult time.

“We are conducting our own internal investigation into the circumstances surrounding this matter and we will share our findings with the family as soon as possible.”