Iowa woman mistakenly pronounced dead gasped for air in funeral home


An Iowa care facility is facing thousands of dollars in fines after a woman was mistakenly pronounced dead and taken to a funeral home only to wake up when she “gasped for air,” authorities said.

The 66-year-old woman was at the Glen Oaks Alzheimer’s Special Care Center since Dec. 2021 before she moved into a hospice care facility, a report released from the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals said.

The facility faces state violations that could result in fines up to $10,000.

Over time, staff members noticed her health diminished

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.

She was returned to the care facility and died with her family by her side.


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