A Chinese family who buried the dead relative of someone else after hospital staff released the wrong body have discovered that the woman they thought they had lost is still alive. The bizarre mix-up even led to the receiving family – who were so upset and confused by the “death” that they failed to notice they had the wrong body – held an elaborate three-day funeral before laying her to rest, mainland media reported. After burying the wrong body – released to them by staff at a hospital in southern China – the family of an 87-year-old woman, surnamed Yin, from Nanning, Guangxi autonomous region, whom they thought they had buried were in for a shock. On December 30, staff at the Nanning Beiji Hospital broke the news that Yin was still alive and that the woman they had buried was someone else, according to a relative of Yin, surnamed Chen. Yin’s family and the hospital are now negotiating a compensation deal and an official investigation by the municipal health commission is under way. The authorities are also understood to be in touch with the family of the dead woman to decide the fate of her buried remains. Yin, who was in a nursing home, had been sent to the hospital for treatment to unspecified emergency condition, Chen said. Another woman, aged 73, was sent from the same organisation to the hospital around the same time and later their identities were mixed up, the hospital admitted. Chen, who went to the hospital with Yin’s five children after her “death”, said none of the relatives recognised the “wrong face” as they were in a hurry to go through procedures, including identifying the body and signing documents. They saw an old person with a hat on her head and checked the identity information on her wrist and bed, she said. “It is local custom to bury a deceased person and we needed to bring her home quickly. It was only 10 minutes after we were informed she was sent to hospital when we were told she died, so we were not prepared at all and were a bit confused,” said Chen. The family placed the body in a closed wooden coffin after returning home and held a traditional grand funeral for three days. Despite the good news that Yin was alive, the family was angry and embarrassed because the mistake made them “lose face” in front of the entire village. “The villagers kept asking us how all this happened. To them, we conducted a religious rite for three days and two nights at the ancestral house for some outsider and then buried her in our own graveyard,” Chen said. A hospital staff member, surnamed Shi, admitted medical workers had confused the two women, but insisted the family was also responsible for the farce. “They signed names and confirmed the identity of the deceased. Then they spent a few dozen minutes cleaning and shrouding her body. How come they failed to notice it was not their own mother?” said Shi. She also said that the deceased was 14 years younger than Yin.