William Paterson died in November aged 56 and was due to be cremated by David Robb Funeral Directors
A father was almost cremated by the wrong family after a hospital and funeral home failed to notice they had the wrong man in the coffin.
Mr Paterson, 56, was picked up and his body sealed and ready for cremation before the family’s own undertaker intervened.
The funeral company and hospital have since apologised and an investigation has been launched.
Mr Paterson, who died on November 20, was due to be picked up from the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital for burial by David Robb Funeral Directors.
But when Mr Robb arrived he found that Mr Paterson’s body had already been taken away by Co-op Funeralcare.
Mr Robb said: ‘When I arrived and gave his address, the date of death didn’t match anyone, but there was another William Paterson there.
‘The hospital worker then checked the system and found that the William Paterson I was looking for had already been uplifted by Glasgow Co-op.’
For Mr Robb, it was then a race against time to try to find the correct body and return him to the family for the funeral.
He added: ‘When I arrived at the Co-op I saw that there was a William Paterson in a coffin, sealed and ready to go for cremation.
‘At this point, he would have had to be checked by at least two staff.
He was due to be picked up from the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital for burial. But when Mr Robb arrived, Mr Paterson’s body had already been taken away by Co-op Funeralcare. Above, Mr Paterson holding his granddaughter Charleigh
‘As soon as I opened the casket I knew it was him, he is the double of his son.
‘If I had decided to take that weekend off there is an extremely high chance that it would have been too late.’
The funeral director chose not to inform the family while he tried to resolve the situation.
Mr Paterson’s daughter Clare was later called into Mr Robb’s office.
She said: ‘When David first told us my heart was in my mouth.
‘I just broke down and I feared it was too late.
‘We just kept asking, ‘How could anyone have let this happen?’
Miss Paterson, 33, said her heart was in her mouth when she was told about the blunder. Above, Clare, left, and granddaughter Charleigh
Internal investigations have since taken place within the hospital and Co-op Funeralcare, the latter of whom is being probed by the National Association of Funeral Directors.
A spokeswoman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: ‘It was a genuine error and we would like to apologise for any distress caused.
‘Our normal robust process for transferring deceased patients to an undertaker failed on this occasion.’
A spokesperson for Co-op Funeralcare said: ‘On collection of Mr Paterson we, unfortunately, were not made aware that there were two individuals at the hospital with the same name.
‘However, after a full investigation, we accept that an error was made on our behalf and we can only apologise to the Paterson family for this.’
The family were left distraught after hearing that their father was almost cremated at the wrong funeral. Above, Mr Paterson, right, with his son Martin
Miss Paterson, 33, said: ‘I don’t know how this could have happened.
‘When I first heard I was just in absolute shock that something like this could happen in this day and age.
‘My initial reaction thinking I am not going to get to have a funeral for my dad – I was absolutely heartbroken.’
Miss Paterson, a taxi driver and student nurse, added: ‘How could someone have taken my dad without any permission.
‘There are checks you have to do before taking a body so I don’t understand how this could have been allowed to happen.
‘If it wasn’t for David who knows what would have happened – he’s a star.
‘Even when he first figured out what had happened the Co-op were denying it was my dad.’
Mr Paterson was cremated on December 1.