Lifestyle & Human Interest

Woman Declared Dead by Nurse, Then a Worker Finds Her Alive Inside Body Bag at Funeral Home


Perhaps the worst fear of many people is that they’re declared dead when they’re actually still alive.

Such an incident reportedly happened last month to a woman who was a resident at the Glen Oaks Alzheimer’s Special Care Center in Urbandale, Iowa, according to KCCI-TV.

The woman’s health had been in decline since December, and she was placed in hospice care on Dec. 28, according to the Des Moines Register.

The woman was believed to have passed away on Jan. 3 at about 6 a.m. because an employee at the facility was unable to feel the woman’s pulse, according to Iowa Capital Dispatch.

The woman’s eyes were open, but fixed and unresponsive.

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Her mouth was also open, but the staff reported they could not detect any breathing, so the worker notified one of the nurses on duty.

The nurse had the same findings.

Even with a stethoscope, the nurse found that there were no breath sounds, no pulse and no verbal response.

The woman had a do-not-resuscitate order in place, according to the Dispatch.

Prior to this finding, the woman reportedly had minor seizures and had mottled skin, indicators that death is close at hand, the Register reported.

It was concluded that the woman was indeed dead. Her relatives were notified and the funeral home was notified.

The funeral home director arrived a little after 7:30 a.m. The woman was placed in a cloth body bag, which was zipped shut, according to KCCI.

About an hour later, the funeral director unzipped the body bag at the funeral home and found that the woman’s chest was moving and she was “gasping for air,” the Dispatch reported.

The funeral director called 911, and EMTs checked her oxygen levels, blood pressure and pulse. They found that her eyes were still fixed in place and she was nonverbal with no motor response.

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The woman was transported to a nearby hospital emergency room. Staff there found her breathing was shallow.

Shortly after that, she was brought back to the Glen Oaks Facility for continued hospice care, where she passed away two days later, surrounded by her family.

The long-term care facility where the woman lived was fined a total of $10,000 for two state violations by the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, according to KCCI.

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