If you needed a reminder for why it’s always a good idea to double check things — look no further.
According to a report from the Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals, a 66-year-old Iowa woman was admitted into the Glen Oaks Alzheimer’s Special Care Center in Urbandale back in December of 2021 for early onset dementia. A year later on December 28, 2022, she was admitted into hospice care as her conditioned worsened. According to the same report, just six days after that, on January 3, the woman was suspected to be dead by a staff member at the care center, after a pulse could not be found, and she did not appear to be breathing:
“She felt the resident had passed away and notified the nurse.”
The nurse explained to the inspection agency she had been checking on the elderly woman, “every hour on the hour throughout the night,” to administer her lorazepam and morphine for comfort. She explained she thought there were no signs of life after checking the woman’s abdomen and found no movement, was unable to find a pulse with her stethoscope, and heard no breathing sounds.
Soon after, a funeral home was called to retrieve the woman. A director for said funeral home said they too found no signs of life, before zipping her shut into a body bag for transportation. They then set out on their 40-minute drive back to the funeral home, where the most shocking discovery imaginable was made:
“At approximately 8:26 a.m. funeral home staff unzipped the bag and observed Resident #1’s chest was moving and she was gasping for air.”
Funeral home employees immediately called 911 and the hospice care facility, and according to the report, when EMS arrived, they were able to find a pulse and shallow breathing. From there, she was transported to a nearby hospital for care, and was then transported back to the care facility, where she died surrounded by family two days later on January 5.
According to the Department of Inspection and Appeals’ citation, the care facility, which, “failed to ensure residents received dignified treatment and care at end of life,” was fined $10,000. In a statement to People Thursday, the facility’s executive director, Lisa Eastman, broke her silence following the shocking matter, claiming she had been in direct communication with the woman’s family:
“We just completed an investigation by the Department of Inspections and Appeals regarding the matter. 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.”
What an absolutely WILD situation… Do you think the $10,000 fine was a sufficient citation? This all sounds exceptionally unique as so many people came to the same conclusion that she showed no signs of life… Our hearts are with her family during this confusing and difficult time. Rest in peace.
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