AN ALZHEIMER’S CARE FACILITY MISTAKENLY DECLARED A WOMAN DEAD, LATER FOUND ALIVE IN BODY BAG
I’ve heard of all sorts of problems with elderly resident care centers. In fact, I may be a little biased, as I lost one grandparent from neglect at one, but that’s a story for another day. But this story is horrific enough, and is enough to make anyone feel anxious about placing a family member in one. This story is about how a 66-year-old woman who was staying at the Glen Oaks Alzheimer’s Special Care Center in Urbandale, Iowa. And somehow, this care facility mistakenly declared the woman as dead, and later funeral home staff found the woman alive in a body bag!
HOSPICE WORKER FOUND NO PULSE OR BREATHING, AND PLACED WOMAN INTO A BODY BAG FOR TRANSPORT
The woman had been receiving care at the special care center since December, 2021. After a year there, she was moved internally to their hospice care facility on December 28th, due to “senile degeneration of the brain.” She received comfort measures in hospice for nearly a week, when staff recorded “diminished” lung sounds and several minor seizures. But they declared her as being dead on January 3rd. A staff person didn’t find a pulse and found that she was not breathing. And they were wrong, of course. The family was called, and a local funeral director came and helped place the woman in a body bag just after 7:30 am.
FUNERAL HOME UNZIPPED BODY BAG AND FOUND WOMAN ALIVE, GASPING FOR AIR
But by 8:26 am, employees at Ankeny Funeral Home and Crematory unzipped the bag and found that the woman’s chest was moving as she gasped for air. They called 911 as well as the care facility. EMS found the woman unresponsive, and she was returned to the care facility. She passed away on January 5th, with her family at her side. The care facility has done their best to communicate with the woman’s family and cooperate with an investigation by the Department of Inspections and Appeals. The facility faces two state violations from the DIA, and will likely get a $10,000 fine.
For me, that seems an underwhelming penalty for placing a living woman dying from Alzheimer’s in a body bag, and also traumatizing her family. Again, I’m likely biased. But this seems truly horrific.