A body left decomposing in a hospital for four days was the result of "individual human error" rather than a breakdown in procedure, according to The Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney, Australia.

A man's body was moved to a viewing room within the mortuary at the major teaching hospital and was left there for several days, Fairfax newspapers reported Tuesday.

The body was found after staff investigated a bad smell. But the hospital said that, if staff had followed correct procedures, the incident would not have happened.

"While the hospital has documented processes for the viewing of deceased persons, in this instance it was individual human error that caused the body to remain, inappropriately, in the viewing area,'' the hospital said in a statement.

The worker involved in the incident was reprimanded and policies were being reinforced to staff, the hospital said.

New South Wales Opposition health spokeswoman, Jillian Skinner said procedures at the hospital were not working.

"How could a body be lost for four days if they've got an accounting system that tells them where bodies are, who they are, who's entitled to handle them and that they're being handled in a proper manner?'' Skinner asked on a radio station.

The incident follows media reports last week about the lack of security at the hospital's morgue.

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