A 92-year-old German woman woke up in a funeral home a few hours after after a doctor declared her dead.
Prosecutor Birgit Juergens, out of Essen, Germany, announced on Tuesday that the 53-year-old physician who declared her dead could face serious legal consequences. Authorities have charged the doctor with negligent bodily harm, according to the New York Daily News. If convicted, the physician, whose name has not been released due to privacy regulations, could face a fine or time in prison for the misdiagnosis.
The unnamed doctor told officials that in March, a caregiver at the woman’s nursing home in Berlin, Germany, found the seriously ill woman not breathing and without a pulse, so she called the physician, who pronounced the elderly woman dead, reports the New York Post.
It turned out that the doctor had incorrectly diagnosed the woman, although she reportedly exhibited no signs of life.
A few hours later, on that same day, an employee at the funeral home was in for a frightening surprise: While performing daily work duties, the worker heard a scream coming from the refrigeration room, where the funeral home stores the dead bodies. Upon investigation, the worker found the 92-year-old woman, who was still very much alive.
Juergens said that the woman was released from the funeral home, but she died in a hospital two days later from heart disease. According to Juergens, the condition that led to her death was completely unrelated to the traumatic ordeal that she went through.
This is not the first time that an elderly person has been misreported as dead.
On July 2011, The United States Department of Treasury accidentally declared a different 92-year-old woman dead while she was still alive, causing her life savings to deplete entirely, reports the Independent.