A funeral parlour in Iowa found a lady who had been delivered to it in a corpse bag that remained alive and ‘gasping for oxygen,’ The facility was fined $10,000. The 66-year-old lady was reportedly pronounced dead on January 3 at the Glen Oaks Alzheimer’s Special Care Centre in Urbandale.
The unidentified lady, receiving hospice care long term, was diagnosed with early-onset dementia, anxiety, and depression.
According to the report submitted by the Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals on Wednesday, her corpse was put in a zippered body bag and transported to the Ankeny Funeral Home and Crematory.
The investigation states, “Resident #1’s chest was moving, and she was gasping for oxygen when funeral home workers opened the bag at about 8.26 am.” According to the report, emergency personnel detected a pulse and a faint breath when they arrived.
The paramedics arrived at Mercy West Lakes Hospital to find a woman still alive but unconscious. According to the article, the lady was returned to hospice care and unfortunately passed away on January 5.
In the early hours of January 3, a Glen Oaks employee who had completed a 12-hour shift and was part of the team caring for the lady reported to a nurse practitioner that the woman was not inhaling and had no pulse.
It was confirmed by the nurse practitioner that the lady was not breathing and that there was no sign of a pulse. She examined the patient for another five minutes before concluding she was no longer living.
The nurse reported that she had been making regular checks on the patient all night long, on the hour, to give her the prescribed doses of morphine and lorazepam.
“The institution failed to guarantee individuals got decent treatment and medical care at the end of life,” the government said in its citation. About 90 minutes after the initial complaint, the lady was pronounced deceased at about 6.30 am local time.
The report states that an hour later, a funeral director’s employee and a second nurse practitioner who helped load the lady into a body bag and the funeral home’s van discovered no vital signs.
Before the lady was pronounced dead, the department of inspections and appeals ruled that the care centre “failed to offer necessary guidance to guarantee proper care and services were delivered.”
A statement sent by Glen Oaks Alzheimer’s Special Care Centre executive director Lisa Eastman expresses the facility’s unwavering dedication to providing palliative care for its patients.
Eastman remarked that the staff receives ongoing education on “the finest ways to assist end-of-life care and the death transition for our people.”
Sergeant Corey Schneider, a spokesman for the Ankeny police department, conveyed to The Des Moines Register that criminal charges would not be filed.
In February 2022, the Iowa Capital Dispatch reported that Glen Oaks had been penalized $500 for not doing appropriate background checks on new hires. It was discovered that five employees lacked the proper training to operate in a memory care unit.