The hospital phoned the Yuan family in Nantou in central Taiwan Wednesday, the third day of the Lunar Chinese New Year, to say its 92-year-old grandfather had died and it should prepare for his funeral, TVBS reported.
The family, which was celebrating the holiday, quickly turned its sitting room into a funeral parlour - decorating it with white flowers, candles, food offerings and the grandfather's portrait.
But when an ambulance brought the body to the Yuan house, the family found it belonged to a stranger.
An investigation showed hospital staff had mistaken another patient who had died at the facility for the Yuans' grandfather, TVBS said.
According to Chinese tradition, sending a stranger's corpse to someone's home brings a lot of bad luck, and doing it during the Chinese New Year holidays doubles the bad luck, making it like a curse.
The hospital repeatedly apologized to the Yuan family and paid it compensation.