Kottayam (Kerala), Nov 9 (PTI) When the relatives of 86-year-old Sosamma John, who had died recently, came on Thursday to collect the mortal remains from a private hospital at Kanjirappally here, they were in for the shock of their lives.
Her body had been handed over by mistake to another family the previous day.
John had died on November 6 and her remains were kept in the hospital morgue awaiting the arrival of all her relatives for the funeral.
The same hospital morgue also contained the remains of 80-year-old Kamalakshiamma, a native of Chirakkadavu village here, who had also died on the same day.
When one of Kamalakshiamma's nine sons arrived to collect her body on Wednesday, the remains of John were handed over to him by mistake.
Even the son did not realise that the body he had collected from the hospital was not that of his mother.
"Even at the time of performing the last rites, they did not realise that they had made a mistake," police said.
By the time the blunder was discovered on Thursday morning, John's remains had been cremated.
Subsequently, a tense situation prevailed at the hospital as agitated relatives of John blamed the hospital for the mix-up and senior police officers arrived at the scene to calm them down.
The hospital management apologised to John's family and thereafter, her relatives agreed to bury her ashes.
The ashes were brought back and handed over to John's relatives and the body of Kamalakshiamma was handed over to her relatives.
John's relatives had arrived at the hospital in the morning in an ambulance with a casket to bury her remains, as the funeral was scheduled to be held at 10 am, and that is when the mix-up was discovered.
The hospital claimed that the body was handed over to the other family after they had identified it. PTI COR HMP HMP SS