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Hospice center fined after woman found alive in body bag at funeral home

funeral, casket, death
A single brown casket with a spray of flowers.

Urbandale, IA– A hospice care facility has received a $10,000 fine after a woman they declared dead, was discovered alive at the funeral home.
The incident occurred on Jan. 3. involving employees at the
hospice care unit of Glen Oaks Alzheimer’s Special Care Center.
The 66-year-old woman was admitted to the hospice on Dec. 28 “due to senile degeneration of the brain,” according to records.
Healthcare providers noticed her condition continue to worsen, and in the early morning hours of Jan. 3, employees declared the woman dead.
“(The worker) reported the resident’s eyes were open,” the report states. “She felt her neck at the carotid artery and listened to her chest. She did not feel a pulse and the resident was not breathing at that time. She felt the resident had passed away and notified the nurse.”
The funeral home director put the woman’s body in a cloth bag around 7:38 a.m.
When workers at the funeral home unzipped the bag at 8:26 a.m., they found the woman’s chest moving and her gasping for air.
Paramedics were called and found that the woman had a pulse but reported that “there was no eye movement, no verbal or vocal response, and no motor response.”
Department of Inspections and Appeals, the woman had been alive in the body bag for almost two hours at the funeral home.
The woman was readmitted to the hospice facility where she died two days later, surrounded by family.
After a month-long investigation into the care facility, the state inspector determined that the woman was not treated with dignity, nor was she provided with appropriate care, which led the fine.