June 24, 2011 -- A Tennessee woman says her late husband, who was accidentally buried with another man's dentures, is "resting a lot easier" now that his body has been exhumed and the dentures removed.
Widow Phyllis Manis said she was upset when she realized her husband Kenneth was buried at Chattanooga's National Cemetery with the dentures of another man.
"My husband is laying in his grave with this other man's teeth and I just couldn't let it be that way. I knew my husband wouldn't want it that way," Phyllis Manis told ABC affiliate WTVC in Chattanooga.
Manis told WTVC that it was a hospital mix-up. The belongings of Kenneth Manis and another patient at the hospital were swapped at some point during their stay in the intensive care unit.
Parkridge Medical Center spokesperson Alison Counts told ABCNews.com that it was a terrible mistake.
"Our hearts go out for their loss," she said. "Following the death of Mr. Manis, we inadvertently gave him those belongings and it was our understanding that they were buried with him."
Counts said the hospital paid for both the disinternment that occurred Thursday, as well as new dentures for the other patient, whose name has not been released.
"At the request of the Manis family, we paid to retrieve his personal belongings," Counts added.
Phyliss Manis said, "Well, I don't know about the other gentleman, he doesn't want the teeth back but I know my husband is going to be resting a lot easier and so is our family."
Manis and the other patient were not sharing the same room inside the hospital, but Counts would not elaborate on how the mix-up could have taken place.
Manis said it wasn't until after his funeral that she found a set of teeth as well as personal items belonging to the other man, and realized her husband had been buried with the wrong set of dentures.
The hospital is not saying how much it cost to exhume the body, but Lisa Carlson from the Funeral Ethics Organization, a nonprofit educational group, said that the process of exhuming a body from a grave undoubtedly costs several thousand dollars.