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California woman froze in hospital morgue due to medical mistake

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2014 | Medical Malpractice |

It is devastating to hear that a loved one has passed away. Many San Diego residents look for answers as to why their loved one died. In some instances, the cause of death can bring even more questions, as is the case when a medical mistake is involved. A grieving family is already under substantial stress, and a doctor error can cause even more anger and frustration.

A California man and his eight children filed a lawsuit after their 80-year-old wife and mother passed away in June 2010. According to the suit, the family alleged that her body was mishandled. The woman had apparently died of a heart attack and was placed in a freezer in the hospital morgue. When morticians viewed her body days later, she was positioned face-down with a broken nose and facial cuts and bruises.

A pathologist later revealed that the woman did not die of a heart attack; rather, she had been prematurely declared dead and woke up in the freezer. Her injuries occurred as she was trying to escape, which she failed to do. The woman eventually froze to death. The family decided to file a medical malpractice suit in May 2012.

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge threw out the suit, claiming it was past the statute of limitations. An appellate court overturned that ruling because the family did not have any reason to suspect she had been alive in the freezer. Individuals who feel they or a loved one suffered as a result of a physician’s negligence should immediately contact an attorney to file a claim.

Source: U-T San Diego, “Court says suit over frozen woman can proceed,” April 2, 2014



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