A US care center has been fined $10,000 (£8,185) after a funeral home discovered a woman sent to it in a body bag was still alive.
The Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals said the 66-year-old woman was pronounced dead at Glen Oaks Alzheimer’s Special Care Center in Urbandale on January 3.
The woman, whose name has not been released, suffered from dementia praecox, anxiety and depression and had been in hospice care since December 28.
She was placed in a zipped body bag and taken to Ankeny Funeral Home and Crematorium, where workers found she was breathing and called emergency services.
She was taken to Mercy West Lakes Hospital, where she was breathing but unresponsive.
The woman was eventually discharged into hospice care, where she died on January 5.
A Glen Oaks staff member who had worked 12 hours and was part of the team caring for the woman told investigators that she first reported to a nurse practitioner early on January 3 that the woman was not was not breathing and had no pulse.
The nurse practitioner who cared for the woman overnight was also unable to find a pulse and said the woman was not breathing.
She continued to assess the woman for approximately five minutes before determining that the woman was deceased.
The woman was pronounced dead around 6:30 a.m. local time, about 90 minutes after the staff member’s first report.
And a funeral home worker and a second nurse practitioner who put the woman in the body bag and funeral home vehicle about an hour later also found no signs of life, the report said.
Lisa Eastman, executive director of Glen Oaks Alzheimer’s Special Care Center, said in a statement that the center cares deeply for its residents and remains committed to supporting end-of-life care.
“All of our staff receive regular training on how best to support end-of-life care and the transition of death for our residents.”
The Ankeny Police Department is not pursuing criminal charges.