A Birmingham hospital has apologised for releasing the body of a woman to the wrong undertakers.
The body of pensioner Brenda Taylor was mistakenly given to funeral company, Ian Hazel Funerals Ltd, by mortuary staff at Good Hope Hospital, in Sutton Coldfield.
The alarm was raised when undertakers A Hazel and Sons, who had been booked by the family, arrived later and staff realised the 70-year-old's body had already been taken.
The hospital contacted Ian Hazel Funerals and Mrs Taylor's body was returned to Good Hope before being passed on to the correct funeral company.
Yesterday the hospital said it had apologised to Mrs Taylor's family and was carrying out an urgent investigation.
Her son, Alan Taylor, who lives in Erdington, said he was only informed about the mix-up more than a week after her funeral at Witton Cemetery.
He said: "It is very upsetting. My mum would would not mind a genuine mistake but I wish that the hospital had been more thorough and checked. I would have felt terrible if the wrong body had been buried."
Mr Taylor, aged 40, who is living at his mother's home, said the former medical secretary died at the hospital on December 15 and he instructed A Hazel and Sons, of High Street, Erdington, to take care of the funeral.
Instead, hospital staff released the body to Ian Hazel Funerals, of Belwell Lane, Four Oaks, Sutton Coldfield.
After the incident, a reinforced series of checks was drawn up by hospital bosses, along with a check-list for undertakers' staff to read and follow when they arrive to collect bodies from the hospital.
Phil Milligan, managing director of Good Hope Hospital NHS Trust, said: "This mistake was noted within a few hours and the deceased was returned.
"We are very sorry that this occurred. It is always our intention to treat all deceased patients with the highest levels of dignity and respect.
"We have apologised to the family concerned and are carrying out a formal investigation."
Mr Milligan blamed the Christmas holidays for the delay in informing Mr Taylor of the mix-up.
He said: "A formal incident report was completed within the department as part of the process of investigating what had happened.
"The absence of key members of staff over the Christmas break contributed to a delay in informing the executive team of this particular incident."