In July 2010, an 80-year old woman was declared dead after suffering from a heart attack and was placed in a freezer at the Boyle Heights Hospital in Los Angeles, California. In December 2011, the woman's husband and eight children filed a lawsuit against the hospital alleging that the hospital had mishandled her body. Several days after she was placed in a freezer, morticians discovered that the woman was face down and suffered several injuries to her face, including a broken nose and cuts and bruises to her face. Much later, however, a pathologist who examined the body determined that the woman "eventually woke up" after she was prematurely frozen alive and she sustained the injuries from trying to escape the "frozen tomb." As a result of the pathologist's report, the woman's family withdrew their initial lawsuit and filed a new medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital for their negligence in prematurely declaring the woman dead and placing her in a freezer when she was in fact alive. Due to the timing delay in filing the second lawsuit, the Los Angeles Court Superior Court dismissed the medical malpractice lawsuit, ruling that it was filed after the one-year statute of limitations period. However, due to the delay in receiving the pathologist's determination about how the woman died, the California 2nd District Court of Appeals overturned the lower court's dismissal, finding that the medical malpractice lawsuit could proceed given the timing of the pathologist's opinion.
The hospital has yet to respond legally against the allegation or give a statement addressing the overall incident. Contact with health care professionals is a necessary part of our society and almost always beneficiary. However, providers are human and mistakes can be made. Even the most careful health care professionals can make a mistake that injures a patient. However, not all medical mistakes rise to the level of malpractice. The skilled medical malpractice attorneys at Meyerkord & Kurth, LLC will help you if you believe you are the victim of medical malpractice. Our medical malpractice attorneys continue to set the standard for representation of difficult cases. If you have a medical malpractice issue, contact us at (314) 436-9958 or (800) 391-4318 to schedule a no-obligation meeting with a medical malpractice attorney.
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