A 66-year-old woman was found alive in a body bag at a funeral home after wrongly being pronounced dead.
An Alzheimer’s facility in suburban Des Moines, Iowa, escaped with a fine of just $10,000 for the error.
A report filed on Wednesday showed that the 66-year-old woman was declared dead at the Glen Oaks Alzheimer’s Special Care Center in Urbandale on Jan 3, The Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals said.
The woman, whose name has not been released, had early onset dementia, anxiety and depression and had been in hospice care since Dec 28.
She was placed in a zipped body bag and taken to the Ankeny Funeral Home & Crematory, where workers found that she was breathing and called 911, the report said.
She was taken to Mercy West Lakes Hospital, where she was breathing but unresponsive. The woman was ultimately returned to hospice care, where she died on Jan 5 with her family by her side, according to the report.
A Glen Oaks staff member who had worked a 12-hour shift and was on the team caring for the woman told investigators she first reported to a nurse practitioner early Jan 3 that the woman was not breathing and had no pulse.
The nurse practitioner who had cared for the woman throughout the night also was unable to find a pulse and said the woman was not breathing. She continued to assess the woman for about five minutes before determining the woman had died.
The woman was declared dead about 6.30am, roughly 90 minutes after the staff member’s first report. A funeral home employee and a second nurse practitioner who put the woman into the body bag and the funeral home’s vehicle about an hour later also found no signs of life, according to the report.
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