The remains of a deceased patient from Craigavon Area Hospital were handed over to the wrong undertaker, a newspaper investigation has uncovered.
A total of five mistakes were recored at the Co. Armagh Hospital mortuary over the past six years, according to a JPI Media data investigation.
One of the mistakes included an incident when a fetal specimen was lost in transit between theatres.
The mistake which resulted in the wrong body being handed over to the funeral director was put down to “human error”.
The investigation also found an organ in the mortuary which should have been transferred to a research facility 12 months earlier.
Andy Langford, clinical director for the charity Cruse Bereavement Care, told the newspaper group: “If you were standing in a room expecting to view the body of a loved one and you are presented with a person who is recognisably different, you can imagine how that would feel. It is beyond shocking, really.”
In May, The Irish Mail on Sunday reported how a hospital in Mullingar released the incorrect remains to the family of a loved one who had died.
The HSE confirmed the incident resulted in a “full internal review”.
The paper reports that the family were only informed of the error “minutes” before the funeral service was due to take place.
A spokeswoman for the HSE confirmed that that “following detection, the mistake was rectified”.
“We would like to offer our condolences to the families and sincerely apologise for the distress this has caused during this difficult time,” the spokeswoman added.