Wrong body cremated after shocking South Wales hospital mix-up, as board apologises to the family

9 December 2023, 17:56

A heart-broken family has cremated the wrong body at a funeral after an NHS hospital mix-up. Credit: Alamy (file image)
A heart-broken family has cremated the wrong body at a funeral after an NHS hospital mix-up. Credit: Alamy (file image). Picture: Alamy

By Christian Oliver

A grieving family has been given the wrong body to cremate at a funeral after a horrific mix-up by a South Wales NHS hospital.

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The family - who were not identified - were then forced to face a second funeral with the right body following the heartbreaking blunder.

Hospital chiefs subsequently apologised for the mistake which took place at the morgue at The Grange University Hospital in Cwmbran, South Wales.

After being notified of the mistake by the health board, a cremation ceremony with the right body was carried out at Sirhowy Valley Crematorium, some 12 miles away.

The chief executive of the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board - named after the father of the NHS Nye Bevan - apologised to the family after they held a second funeral earlier this week.

The board said they were investigating the incident after the family they were left "extremely distressed".

The person who was initially cremated is not believed to have any surviving family, the board said.

The Grange University Hospital, July 2021. Please Credit: Phillip Roberts
The Grange University Hospital, July 2021. Please Credit: Phillip Roberts. Picture: Alamy

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“We are utterly heartbroken about what has happened to the family and we take responsibility for this isolated incident," Nicola Prygodzicz, chief executive of Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, said.

"Words cannot express how sorry we are. We have met with the family to fully inform them about this situation and to offer them as much support as they need."

Ms Prygodzicz said this was an isolated incident as she announced the board "would also like to reassure the public that this is an exceptional case".

"We identified this mistake through our own processes and after an initial review we are confident that this is down to an isolated human error.

"However, we are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding this incident and we will keep family members fully updated throughout our investigation.

“No words we can say, or actions we can take, can put this right. We are deeply sorry, and our thoughts and full support remain with the family.”

A spokesperson for the crematorium, which is part of Westerleigh Group, said: “We pride ourselves on providing exceptional care and support to all families we serve and as such we treat their right to privacy incredibly seriously.

"We do not have permission to provide any comments without the consent of families."

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