Care home fined after woman found alive in body bag sent to funeral home

Body bag - image Chaiyawat Chaidet /

A 66-year-old woman who was suffering from dementia was thought to be dead by care home staff who bagged her and had her sent to the local funeral home.

Glen Oaks Alzheimer’s Special Care Centre in Urbandale declared the woman dead on 3 January according to Sky News on February 3.

The unnamed woman is said to have had early-onset dementia and was suffering from anxiety and depression. She was admitted to the care home on December 28.

After staff found no signs of life they placed her in a zipped body bag and had her taken to the Ankeny Funeral Home & Crematory. When workers there found that she was still alive they called the emergency services.

She was admitted to Mercy West Lakes Hospital, unresponsive but still breathing. After receiving some treatment she as returned to the home where she died two days later.

The care centre nurse declared the woman dead after being called by a staff who said that the woman had stopped breathing. After checking her a few times the nurse declared her dead saying she wasn’t breathing and that she could not find a pulse.

She was declared dead roughly 90 minutes after the nurse was called. A second nurse and an employee from the funeral home who bagged her also found no pulse or signs of life.

The Care home was fined $10,000 after the woman was found alive in a body bag that had been sent to a funeral home. No criminal charges are being pursued by police in what they say  is a very unusual case.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at