Elderly woman found breathing at funeral home just hours after being pronounced dead
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An 82-year-old woman who was declared dead has been found breathing at a funeral home.
The unnamed woman had been announced dead by staff at Water’s Edge Rehab and Nursing Centre at Port Jefferson on Long Island at 11.15am on Saturday (February 4).
She was taken to OB Davis Funeral Homes in Miller Place at 1.30 pm, but was found to be breathing at 2.09pm, Suffolk County police have said.
Following the discovery the woman was taken to a nearby hospital - as yet, no update on her condition has been given.
Police have said the incident has been referred to New York Attorney General Letitia James' office for investigation.
A spokesperson said: "This is an awful situation that has caused unnecessary trauma for the impacted resident and her loved ones.”
The New York health department is also investigating, according to spokesperson Monica Pomeroy
Officials at the funeral home said in a statement: “Out of respect for the privacy and confidentiality of the families we are honored to serve, we are not in a position to comment further on this matter.”
This incident comes just days after a care home in Iowa was fined $10,000 over a similar incident.
A 66-year-old woman was declared dead on January 3, at the Glen Oaks Alzheimer’s Special Care Centre in Urbandale, where she was being given end-of-life care.
The woman, whose identity was not released, was placed in a body bag and taken to the Ankeny Funeral Home and Crematory.
However, once there, workers at the funeral home realised she was still breathing and called emergency services.
A report about the incident seen by the New York Post, stated: “At approximately 8:26 a.m. funeral home staff unzipped the bag and observed Resident #1’s chest was moving and she was gasping for air.”
She was later released from hospital and returned to the care centre where she died on January 5.
Executive director of the Glen Oaks Alzheimer’s Special Care Center Lisa Eastman, said that staff ‘deeply for our residents and remain fully committed to supporting their end-of-life care’.
She said: “All of our employees are given regular training in how best to support end-of-life care and the death transition for our residents.”
In its ruling the state found the care center ‘failed to provide adequate direction to ensure appropriate cares and services were provided’. And it was given a $10,000 fine.
The Ankeny police department said it would not be pursuing criminal charges.