An 82-year-old woman was found to be breathing at a New York funeral home on Saturday, three hours after she was pronounced dead at a nursing home, according to police.
A spokesperson for Suffolk County Police Department told The Epoch Times in a statement via email that detectives from the department’s Sixth Squad are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.
The woman, whose name hasn’t been released, was pronounced dead at Waters Edge Rehab and Nursing Center in Port Jefferson on Long Island at 11:15 a.m. on Feb. 4.
She was transported to O.B. Davis Funeral Home in Miller Place at 1:30 p.m., where it was determined she was breathing at 2:09 p.m., according to the spokesperson.
“She has been transported to a local hospital. The incident is being referred to the New York State Attorney General’s Office,” the spokesperson said.
As of Monday, no information was available on the condition of the woman.
The state health department is investigating the incident, but couldn’t provide further details, according to spokesperson Monica Pomeroy.
The Epoch Times contacted the nursing home and funeral home for comment. The funeral home previously issued a statement saying they could not comment further due to privacy concerns.
The premature declaration of death followed a similar episode in Iowa, where a continuing care home was fined $10,000.
According to a report from the Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals (DIA), the Ankeny Funeral Home and Crematory found that a 66-year-old woman, who was placed in a body bag and sent to the funeral home, was still alive.
The woman had early-onset dementia, anxiety, and depression and had been receiving hospice care since Dec. 28 at the Glen Oaks Alzheimer’s Special Care Center in Urbandale.
A Glen Oaks staff member who worked a 12-hour shift and was part of the team caring for the woman reported to a nurse practitioner that the woman was not breathing and had no pulse. The nurse practitioner was unable to find a pulse either and assessed the woman for about five minutes before determining that she had died.
On Jan. 3, the woman was declared dead at about 6:30 a.m., roughly 30 minutes after the staff member’s first report, and placed in a body bag before being sent to the funeral home.
An employee of the funeral home and a second nurse who put the woman into the body bag and the funeral home’s vehicle about an hour later also found no signs of life, according to the report.
However, workers at the funeral home later found that the woman was breathing and called 911.
She was taken to Mercy West Lakes Hospital, where she was breathing but unresponsive. She was later returned to hospice care and died on Jan. 5 surrounded by her family.
The DIA found the care center “failed to provide adequate direction to ensure appropriate cares and services were provided” before the woman was declared dead.
In a statement, the executive director of the Glen Oaks Alzheimer’s Special Care Center, Lisa Eastman, said that the facility cares deeply about its residents and remains committed to supporting end-of-life care.
“All of our employees are given regular training in how best to support end-of-life care and the death transition for our residents,” Eastman said.
Sgt. Corey Schneden, a spokesperson for the Ankeny police department, told The Des Moines Register that the department will not be pursuing criminal charges.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.