A Dublin hospital apologized Thursday for telling a family their relative was dead, only to discover he was still alive when the morticians arrived.

The patient, identified only as a disabled man in his 30s, was checked in to the Mater Hospital in inner north Dublin during the Easter period, where staff certified his death. Morgue officials found him, apparently awake and alert, in his bed when they arrived hours later to collect the body.

The Mater — which suffers from chronic overcrowding and, in recent weeks, work stoppages by nurses demanding more pay for fewer working hours — said it had formed a committee to investigate what went wrong and to ensure it never happened again. It apologized for traumatizing the patient's family, who checked him out of the Mater after the incident.

"Needless to say, the hospital is very perturbed at what happened," the Mater said in a statement.

Screwups are nothing new for Ireland's publicly funded hospitals. In August another north Dublin hospital, Beaumont, shipped the body of a dead English tourist back to England — with a bag of somebody else's organs stitched up inside his body.