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Woman mistakenly pronounced dead at nursing center found ‘breathing’

The incident involving the 82-year-old is now being referred to the New York State Attorney General’s Office.
/ Source: TODAY

Police are investigating the case of an 82-year-old woman who was pronounced dead at a New York nursing home and then, within hours, determined to be alive.

A spokesperson for Suffolk County Police Department provided a statement to via email and confirmed that detectives are conducting the investigation involving the woman at the center of the Feb 4. incident.

The police department was not able to identify the woman by name, but said that she was pronounced dead at 11:15 a.m. on Saturday at Water’s Edge Rehab and Nursing Center at Port Jefferson. Soon after, the woman was transported to O.B. Davis Funeral Home in Miller Place at 1:30 p.m. At 2:09 p.m., it was determined that she was breathing.

“She has been transported to a local hospital. The incident is being referred to the New York State Attorney General’s Office,” the statement said.

Water’s Edge Rehab and Nursing Center at Port Jefferson has yet to respond to’s request for comment and status of the woman’s condition.

O.B. Davis Funeral Home provided an email statement on the incident which reads, “Out of respect for the privacy and confidentiality of the families we are honored to serve, we are not in a position to comment further on this matter.” 

Last week, in Iowa, a hospice facility learned that it had mistakenly presumed a woman dead after she was discovered gasping for air while inside a body bag at a funeral home.

NBC News reported that the woman, who was a resident of Glen Oaks Alzheimer’s Special Care Center in Urbandale, had “senile degeneration of the brain.” 

Nearly two hours after she was pronounced dead by a nurse, the woman's body was placed on a gurney by a funeral director who put her “inside a cloth bag and zipped it shut.” Ten minutes later, staff members at the funeral home discovered that the woman’s “chest was moving, and she was gasping for air.”

When EMS personnel arrived on scene, they recorded a pulse and said the woman had "no eye movement or verbal, vocal or motor response." She was taken to the emergency room and subsequently returned to the hospice facility. The woman died two days later, surrounded by family.

The facility where the woman was staying was fined $10,000 following the incident.