After a funeral home found that a woman who was sent to a US care center in a body bag had been still alive, the centre was fined $10,000 (PS8,185).
According to the Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals, the 66-year old woman was declared dead at Glen Oaks Alzheimer’s Special Care Centre Urbandale on 3 Jan.
The woman, whose identity has not been revealed, suffered from early-onset dementia, anxiety, and depression. She was in hospice care since 28/12.
The body was put in a zipped bag and she was taken to the Ankeny Funeral Home & Crematory. Workers discovered that she was still breathing and called emergency services.
She was unresponsive but breathing when she was brought to Mercy West Lakes Hospital.
The woman died in hospice care on January 5, after which she was returned to hospice.
Glen Oaks employee who worked 12-hour shifts and was part of the team that cared for the woman said she first reported to a nurse practitioner on January 3rd, saying the woman wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a pulse.
The woman’s nurse practitioner, who had been caring for her throughout the night, was also unable to locate a pulse and declared that she was not breathing.
After assessing the woman for five minutes, she decided that the woman was dead.
The woman was declared dead around 6.30am local time, approximately 90 minutes after the first report by staff.
According to the report, a funeral home employee as well as a second nurse practitioner who placed the woman in the body bag and drove away found no signs that she was alive.
Lisa Eastman, Glen Oaks Alzheimer’s Special Care Centre executive director, stated in a statement that the centre cares deeply for its residents and is committed to providing end-of-life support.
“All our employees receive regular training on how to best support the end-of-life transition and care for our residents.”
Ankeny’s police department does not pursue criminal charges.