A care facility is facing hefty fines after mistakenly pronouncing a resident dead and transporting her to a funeral home where she later woke up "gasping for air," CBS News reports.
Glen Oaks Alzheimer's Special Care Center in Urbandale, Iowa is currently facing two violations that could result in a $10,000 fine in relation to the incident, the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals confirmed in a new report released on Wednesday (February 1), following an initial report from KCCI. The resident, identified only as a 66-year-old woman who had been at the facility since December 2021, was moved into hospice care on December 28, 2022 due to "senile degeneration of the brain."
Comfort measures were taken while the woman was in hospice care and staff members noted "diminished" lung sounds and minor seizures on several occasions. The woman was officially pronounced dead by an employee identified as Staff C at 6:00 a.m. on January 3, 2023, after the employee claimed that she "did not feel a pulse" and found the 66-year-old "not breathing at the time."
A licensed practical nurse was notified and the facility alerted the woman's family before a local funeral home was contacted. A funeral director placed the body in a bag zipped shut with assistance from another nurse identified as "LPN D" shortly after 7:30 a.m.
The bag was unzipped by employees at Ankeny Funeral Home and Crematory, who "observed (the resident's) chest moving and she gasped for air" at 8:26 a.m., according to the report. The funeral home called 911 and contacted the care facility.
A responding EMS was able to record a pulse and breathing, but the woman had no eye movement nor verbal response at the time. The woman was transported back to the care facility, where she was later pronounced dead on January 5.
"We have been in close communication with the family of the resident, and we just completed an investigation by the Department of Inspections and Appeals regarding the matter," Lisa Eastman, the facility's executive director, told CBS News on Thursday (February 2). "We care deeply for our residents and remain fully committed to supporting their end-of-life care. All employees undergo regular training so they can best support end-of-life care and the death of our residents."