An NHS trust has launched an investigation after a grieving family were shown the wrong body.
When Patricia Riley, 81, died early this month her family – including young grandchildren – visited hospital to pay their last respects.
But NHS staff accidentally took the group to view the corpse of a different woman.
Patricia’s widower Terry said: “The grandchildren were there and they hadn’t seen a dead body ever and here they were presented with a person who wasn’t their grandmother.
“We were all expecting to see Pat lying there.
“It was absolutely awful, it was dreadful.”
Patricia’s daughter Sheila Clark added: “I couldn’t understand how such an enormous mistake could happen.
“It is something that shouldn’t have happened to anybody.
“I can’t explain how devastating it was really.”
The mistake happened after Patricia died at the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, Lincs.,
Her family say they cannot criticise the care the grandmother received while she was alive.
But the blunder following her death has caused much upset and hampered arrangements for next week’s funeral.
Sheila, who lives near Boston, added: “I want an assurance this isn’t going to happen to another family.
“They need to review their policies, make sure they are robust enough.”
United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust has apologised to the family and launched an urgent investigation.
CEO Andrew Morgan said: “What happened was truly distressing and we cannot begin to appreciate how dreadful this was for the family at such a traumatic time.
“We have been in contact with the family and are investigating this incident thoroughly and will feedback to them as soon as this is completed.”