A hospice care facility is facing massive fines and potential lawsuits after mistakenly pronouncing a woman dead and taking her to a funeral home, only to discover the woman was still alive.
Fox News reported that the 66-year-old Alzheimer’s patient “gasped for air” at the funeral home and was subsequently returned to the same hospice center that sent her their in the first place.
The unidentified woman, a patient at the Glen Oaks Alzheimer’s Special Care Center prior to her move to a more specialized hospice care facility, was sent to the funeral home on January 3rd of this year. After the funeral home discovered the error, they returned her. She died on January 5th.
As a result of their mistake, the facility faces several thousand dollars worth of fines handed down by the state of Iowa. No reports have been made of litigation by the woman’s family, though it seems likely that will come next.
Fox News reported on the frightening story:
Over time, staff members noticed her health diminished. On Jan. 3, she was pronounced dead when staffers noticed “her mouth was open, her eyes were fixed, and there were no breath sounds,” the report said.
A funeral home was called and the woman’s family was alerted. At 7:38 p.m., a funeral home director arrived and a licensed practical nurse placed the woman’s body inside a body bag and zipped it shut. They both said there were no signs of life, the report said.
At around 8:26 p.m. at the funeral home, staff member unzipped the bag and saw the woman’s chest moving and “she gasped for air.” The funeral home called 911 and the hospice facility. When responders arrived, they were able to record a pulse and breathing.
Taphephobia ranks for most people as one of the worst ways to go. The fear of being buried alive, as it is more commonly known, subjects individuals to an agonizing
Perhaps the woman would have been cremated instead, but that hardly seems an improvement if she were alert to the intense heat and flames that result in incineration.
Stories of being buried alive are fortunately rare, but they have happened on occasion and been recorded as dreadful reminders of the pain and suffering inflicted upon those that have to endure such nightmares.
One such account is that of 19th-century Kentuckian Octavia Smith Hatcher. After losing her infant son, she entered a deep state of depression and eventually entered a coma. Though she had developed off signs of illness separate from the depression, doctors assumed she had withered away out of grief and sadness.
She was pronounced dead a short time later and buried.
Eventually, her town experienced a rash of the same symptoms displayed by Octavia and it was discovered that a fly bite was the cause of the mysterious illness. The illness put many people into a coma-like state with shallow, nearly-imperceptible breathing. Her husband James connected the dots and realized she may have been buried by mistake.
All That’s Interesting picked up the terrifying story from there.
Eventually, her body entered a coma-like state, and nobody could awaken her. She was pronounced dead in May of 1891 – just four months after Jacob’s death.
Fearing that she had been buried alive, James panicked and had Octavia exhumed, thinking she might awaken. She had, but James was too late. Octavia’s coffin was air-tight. He found the coffin lining had been shredded and Octavia’s fingernails were bloody. On her face was frozen a contorted shriek of terror.
The thought of what the woman endured is the stuff of nightmares.
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