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Family sues after woman freezes to death in hospital morgue

Imagine the grief you would feel after learning that a close loved one has passed away in Fulton County, Georgia. Then imagine finding out that medical personnel made a mistake that led to the death of your loved one and put him in a situation where he had to endure much pain and suffering prior to his passing.

Unfortunately, this was the scenario a family in California was faced with after the death of their 80-year-old loved one. The woman’s husband and eight children were told the woman died after she had a heart attack in July 2010. When they learned that her body had cuts and bruises and that her nose was broken after being placed in a freezer in the hospital, the family filed a lawsuit in which they alleged that her body had been mishandled.

During the hearing in December 2011, the woman’s husband and children were dealt a devastating blow. A pathologist testified that the woman caused the injuries to herself when she tried in vain to escape the freezer. It seems that doctors made a mistake when they pronounced her dead and that the woman eventually regained consciousness in the hospital morgue’s freezer. The woman apparently froze to death.

The family dropped their original lawsuit and filed a medical malpractice lawsuit in May 2012. Although the one-year statute of limitations was up, an appellate court said the lawsuit would be allowed because the family did not know the whole story until the pathologists testified in court.

Source: Insurance Journal, “Malpractice Suit Over Frozen California Woman to Proceed,” April 4, 2014

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