A 76-year-old woman who was pronounced dead in a hospital in Ecuador startled her relatives by banging her coffin while she was injured, and the incident prompted a government investigation into the hospital.
The son of Gilberto Barbera told the Associated Press that relatives left the coffin and rushed retired nurse Bella Montoya to the hospital after Friday in the central city of Papahoyo.
“It freaked us all out,” Barbera said, adding that doctors said his mother’s condition was still dire.
Ministry of Health of Ecuador He said Montoya was in intensive care Monday at Martin Icaza Hospital in Papahoyo while the ministry investigates the doctors involved in her case. In a statement, the ministry said that a technical committee has been formed to review how the hospital issues death certificates.
The department said Montoya was initially hospitalized on Friday with a possible stroke and cardiac arrest, and when she did not respond to resuscitation, a doctor on duty pronounced her dead.
Barbera said his mother was unconscious when she was brought to the emergency room, and a few hours later a doctor told him she had died and handed her identification documents and a death certificate.
The family then brought her to a funeral home and she woke up later that Friday when they started hearing strange noises.
“There were about 20 of us,” Barbera said. “About five hours after waking up, the coffin started making noises. My mom was wrapped in sheets and banging on the coffin, and when we got closer, we could see she was breathing hard.”
Although he and his relatives took her to the hospital on Friday, she was still in serious condition on Monday. She was intubated, Barbera said, and the doctors weren’t giving her relatives much hope about her prognosis.
No details were released about the doctor who declared the woman’s premature death.
Ecuadorian media reported on the unusual incident, with headlines celebrating the woman’s “resurrection”.
Barbera said in a report to the newspaper “El Universo”: “My mother is on oxygen. Her heart is stable. The doctor pressed her hand and she responded.”
“They told me that’s a good thing, because it means she’s reacting little by little.”
The Ecuadorian Ministry of Health said in a statement on Sunday that Montoya was hospitalized with a suspected stroke and “she went into cardiorespiratory arrest without responding to resuscitation maneuvers, so the doctor on duty confirmed her death.”
The department said it has set up a committee to investigate the incident and will oversee Montoya’s care.
Barbera said he visited his mother in the hospital’s intensive care unit on Sunday.
“Little by little, I am coming to terms with what happened,” he said. “Now I only pray for my mother’s health. I want her alive and by my side.”
A similar incident occurred in the United States in December. Iowa nursing facilityShe was taken to a funeral home, where she awoke “gasping for air”.
In 2020, a young woman was pronounced dead at her home in a suburb of DetroitAt a funeral, she was about to be embalmed.
AFP contributed to this report.
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