A 92-year-old German woman declared dead and taken to a morgue woke up in a refrigerated room at a funeral home this March, leading to charges against her physician.
ITV News reported
that a German prosecutor charged the doctor, whose name was not released, with negligent bodily harm on Tuesday in connection with the incident. Essen prosecutor Birgit Juergens said that the woman died two days later at a hospital, but from an unrelated disease.
According to The Associated Press
, the woman, who was "seriously ill," was declared dead by the doctor, 53, in March after a retirement home caregiver discovered that she was not breathing and did not have a pulse.
Later that evening, after being declared dead, a funeral-home worker found the elderly woman screaming in its refrigerated room where she had been taken.
Juergens said that the elderly woman was taken to a hospital where she died from heart disease. Juergens added that the doctor could face prison time or a fine if convicted.
There have been numerous occasions where a person had been pronounced dead but was actually alive. On May 19 in Milwaukee, WITI-TV reported
that Thomas Sancomb, 46, was pronounced dead by emergency personnel when he was found face down and unresponsive in his bedroom.
Some 45 minutes later after transporters arrived on the scene, Sancomb starting showing "spontaneous respirations and began moving his left arm and right leg — the patient had a heart rate," the television station reported.
The Milwaukee Fire Department told WITI-TV that it was conducting an internal investigation about the misdiagnoses. Sancomb's brother told the television station later in May that Thomas Sancomb had shown improvement at a hospital since the incident.
In another incident on May 5, Zack Clements, 17, was pronounced clinically dead from a heart condition at Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas after collapsing during football drills. He soon came back to life, however, reported People magazine
"For 20 minutes, he was legally dead," Dr. Lisa Roten, 49, a cardiologist who helped care for the teenager told People. "He is very lucky. So often, people remain in a coma after something like this and don't wake up."
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