A sample from a California cancer patient’s tumour was mistakenly delivered to a man in Bristol who had ordered a Kindle ebook reader.
James Potten, 37, told BBC News that he opened the FedEx package to discover a box marked “patient tumor – specimen enclosed”.
It was supposed to have been sent to London’s Royal Free Hospital.
“When I opened it I had quite a shock,” said Mr Potten, an environmental consultant.
“My name was on the outside, but the contents weren't what I expected. I haven't opened the sealed box, which says exempt patient tissue, as it doesn't belong to me.
“The tracking code on the item had the same first five and last three numbers as my order but it wasn't my Kindle.
“I've been trying to get FedEx to collect it as it is potentially a sample that needs to be tested and sent back with some urgency. I don't know where my Kindle is, but if it is at the Royal Free I'd be happy to do an exchange.”
The Royal Free Hospital confirmed that a package “intended for one of its institutions … was delivered to an address in Bristol”.
“We will await answers from the delivery company as to how this mistake was made,” it said.
FedEx, which collected the tumour sample from Mr Potten on Sunday, told the BBC that it “regretted the error” and “will consider future changes to our processes”.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies