Nebraska woman declared dead found alive at funeral home

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A woman in Nebraska initially pronounced dead at a nursing home was later found to be alive at a funeral home, authorities have confirmed.

An emergency call was made on Monday by staff a funeral home in Waverly, near Lincoln, who noticed the 74-year-old was still breathing and performed CPR on her.

Constance Glantz had been pronounced dead by staff at a nearby nursing home about two hours earlier.

She was taken to a local hospital. Police are investigating the incident, but say they have not found evidence of criminal intent by the nursing home.

“This is a very unusual case,” said Chief Deputy Ben Houchin from the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office at a press briefing broadcast by livestream.

“Been doing this 31 years, and nothing like this has ever gotten to this point before.”

A coroner was not sent to the nursing home because Ms Glantz had been placed in hospice care, and the circumstances did not fall within a coroner’s remit, Mr Houchin told reporters. Ms Glantz’s death had been anticipated, he explained.

Additionally, “a physician had seen her in the last seven days, and the physician was willing to sign the death certificate, and… there was nothing suspicious at the time of the death”.

The woman’s current condition is not known. Mr Houchin confirmed that her family had been notified of the situation.

Mr Houchin did not name the homes at the centre of the mishap, but the BBC has requested comment from a nursing home and funeral parlour that were named by local media.

Ms Glantz is not the only person to be declared dead only to reveal themselves as still being alive.

In June last year, 76-year-old Bella Montoya in Ecuador was declared dead following a suspected stroke, placed in a coffin and taken to a funeral parlour for a vigil ahead of her burial. Five hours later, she was found to be alive after the coffin was opened to change her clothes. She did, however, die days later.

In 2018, a South African woman who was initially declared dead following a road accident was discovered alive in a mortuary fridge.

Dr Stephen Hughes, a senior lecturer in medicine at Anglia Ruskin University’s School of Medicine in Chelmsford, has said that such cases are rare, but that “death is a process”.

“Sometimes somebody may look like they’re dead but they’re not quite dead,” Dr Hughes told the BBC after the incident in Ecuador. “Careful examination is necessary.”

Dr Hughes added that doctors would often look for heart sounds or breathing effort for at least a minute before declaring someone dead, and that some drugs could also slow down body processes, giving someone the false appearance of having passed away.

Read More: Nebraska woman declared dead found alive at funeral home

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