Some heads are probably going to roll…a hospice facility in Iowa has initially been fined $10,000 after it mistakenly presumed a woman dead. Hours later, the woman was discovered gasping for air inside her body bag at a funeral home, according to officials.
A nurse at Glen Oaks Alzheimer’s Special Care Center in Urbandale determined that the woman, who was 66, had died on Jan. 3. The resident was transferred to a funeral home according to the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals.
The patient, not yet publicly identified, was admitted to hospice care on Dec. 28 because of “senile degeneration of the brain,” the report says.
At 6 a.m. on Jan. 3, a nurse checked on the patient and found no signs of life.
Her “mouth was open, her eyes were fixed, and there were no breath sounds,” the report says. The nurse was also unable to locate the woman’s pulse with her stethoscope.
The nurse put her hand on the woman’s abdomen and “noted no movement,” the report says.
The nurse notified a family member saying the woman had died, and hospice agreed to call the funeral home.
About an hour and 40 minutes later, a funeral director placed the woman’s body on a gurney “inside a cloth bag and zipped it shut,” the report says.
Just before 8:30 a.m., staff members at the funeral home discovered that the woman was still alive, the report says.
“Funeral home staff unzipped the bag and observed Resident #1’s chest was moving and she was gasping for air. The funeral home then called 911 and hospice.
EMS personnel arrived and she was taken to the emergency room. She was returned to the hospice facility and died with her family at her side two days later, according to the state report.
The state fined the facility $10,000 which is the maximum allowed under Iowa law.