Iowa Woman Found Gasping For Air In Body Bag At Funeral Home

(JAMAICA OBSERVER) – An Iowa hospice care facility has been fined US$10,000 after a woman was mistakenly declared dead by healthcare workers. According to a report the 66-year-old woman was discovered alive two hours later inside a body bag at a funeral home.

The elderly woman was reportedly admitted to the hospice care unit of the Glen Oaks Alzheimer’s Special Care Centre on December 28 due to senile degeneration of the brain.

As the patient’s condition worsened, a staff member at the facility noted signs that the woman died in the early hours of January 3. According to the report, the worker said that the resident’s eyes were open so she felt for a pulse and listened to the elderly woman’s chest and there was no pulse. She reportedly stated that the resident was not breathing. Thinking that the woman had died, the worker went to notify a nurse.

The nurse assessed the woman around 6:00 am and arrived at the same conclusion. The facility called the elderly woman’s family member and a funeral home.

The report said that the funeral home director arrived at the hospice care unit and put the woman “inside a cloth bag and zipped it shut”.

However, when funeral home workers unzipped the body bag at 8:26 am, they found the woman’s chest moving and her gasping for air.

Paramedics were called, and while a pulse was registered on the woman, they reported that there was no eye movement, no verbal or vocal response and no motor response.

She was readmitted to the hospice facility and died two days later with her family by her side.

The state’s inspector said the hospice facility did not treat the resident with dignity and did not provide her with appropriate care. A month-long investigation led to the state imposing a $10,000 fine.