A Woman Was Mistakenly Pronounced Dead Gasped For Air After Being Found By Iowa Funeral Home Staff

After incorrectly determining that a 66-year-old resident had passed away and having her brought to a funeral home, where she awoke “gasping for air,” a care facility in Iowa is now facing fines totaling $10,000 as a result of their actions.

KCCI, an affiliate of CBS, was the first to reveal the findings of a new report that was released on February 1, 2023 by the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals. The report describes the sequence of events that led up to the woman being incorrectly pronounced dead.

The person, who shall remain nameless, had been a patient at the Glen Oaks Alzheimer’s Special Care Center since the month of December 2021. On December 28, 2022, the individual was transferred into the hospice care unit at the institution due to “senile degeneration of the brain.”

During the time that the patient was receiving hospice care, comfort measures were taken. Several members of the staff noted that the patient’s lung sounds had “diminished” over the course of several days. They also noted that the patient had experienced some mild convulsions.

At six o’clock in the morning on January 3, 2023, the woman was pronounced dead after an employee who was identified only as Staff C reported that she “could not detect a pulse” and discovered that the “resident was not breathing at that time.”

A licenced practical nurse was informed of the situation by the staff member. The family of the deceased woman was informed, and a nearby funeral home was contacted.

The resident was placed in a body bag and zipped up with the assistance of another nurse who was designated as “LPN D.” Shortly after 7:30 in the morning, a funeral director arrived, and shortly after that, the resident was pronounced dead. A little time later, the funeral director exited the building.

The personnel at the Ankeny Funeral Home and Crematory began unzipping the bag around 8:26 in the morning.

According to the report, they “saw (the resident’s) chest moving as she gasped for oxygen.” [Citation needed]

After that, the funeral home dialled 911 as well as the care facility. When emergency medical services arrived, they were able to record that the patient was breathing and had a pulse, but the patient did not have any eye movement and did not answer verbally.

The returning of the resident to the nursing home took place the very same day. According to the article, she passed away in the wee hours of the morning on January 5, with her loved ones by her side.

According to Lisa Eastman, the facility’s executive director, who spoke with CBS News about the incident, “We have been in close communication with the family of the resident, and we just concluded an inquiry by the Department of Inspections and Appeals regarding the problem.”

“Our residents are very important to us, and we will never waver in our dedication to providing them with the best possible end-of-life care. All of our staff members regularly participate in training sessions in order to better assist with end-of-life care and the passing of our clients.”

The facility is being investigated by the DIA for two state infractions, each of which could result in a punishment of $10,000.

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