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A man was left shaken when the wife he thought had died returned home alive and well.
Gaddayya, from Jaggiahpet, India, visited his wife Mutyala Girijamma every day she was in hospital battling Covid-19, making sure she was recovering well.
However, on 15 May, three days after having been admitted, he went to Government General Hospital in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, and couldn't find her.
After speaking to staff, who checked his wife's medical records, Gaddayya was told that she had sadly passed away, and her body was released to him.
Due to the risks surrounding coronavirus, he was told not to open the body bag without making sure he was wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent spreading the deadly virus.
Gaddayya took Mutyala's body back to their native village and performed her last rites that day.
Just a few days later, he then received the devastating news that his son Ramesh had also died from Covid.
Broken by the loss of his loved ones, Gaddayya held a joint memorial service for both Mutyala and Ramesh on 25 May.
However, he was left speechless when his wife returned home the next day.
She was reportedly upset that Gaddayya hadn't come to pick her up from the hospital, which meant she had to get a taxi home, borrowing money to do so.
It turned out that the hospital had released a stranger's body.
Mutyala's nephew Nagu told the press that his aunt had actually been moved to another ward.
He said: "The duty doctor on that day failed to inform my uncle that she was shifted to another ward and told him that she succumbed to Covid.
"Believing it, we went to the mortuary to find her body where we were given the body of another woman. Since we could not verify the body before taking it as it was packed, we took the body home and performed the last rites."
Nagu added: "We are shocked and surprised to see my aunt coming alive. We do not know who we have cremated."
According to reports, the body released by hospital staff is still yet to be identified.
The hospital has yet to comment on the matter and no negligence case has been registered with authorities at the time of reporting.
However, speaking about the heartbreaking mix-up, Gaddayya said something needs to be done.
He told the Times of India: "I failed to to identify the body as it was packed. Officials should take action against the hospital."
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