The mix-up took place in Quarto, Naples, and almost went unnoticed.
Saverio Baiano, 46, died after an accident at work, when he fell from the roof of a building in late October. He passed away from the injuries in Naples' Don Bosco hospital on November 2nd, and his funeral was scheduled to take place on Monday morning.
But while the family waited in the local church, one of the undertakers – who knew Baiano personally – uncovered the hospital's error. He went to collect the corpse from the Federico II university hospital, where the autopsy had taken place, in order to transport it to the church.
The only problem was that the procedure had been carried out on the wrong man.
The undertaker immediately noticed something was wrong, local paper Cronaca Flagrea reported.
“My employee asked to go down into the mortuary, despite the fact that hospital staff continued to insist that the body was in fact Saviero's,” Giacomo Cesarano, owner of the funeral parlour, told the paper. “They said that the only other body down there belonged to an immigrant.”
However, the undertaker was insistent – and when he went into the mortuary, he found Baiano's body. The autopsy had apparently been carried out on a 76-year-old by error.
Baiano's funeral has now been postponed while police investigate how the unfortunate mix-up was allowed to happen.