In São José, Brazil, a 90-year-old woman, Norma Silveira da Silva, was mistakenly declared dead and later found alive in a body bag at a morgue. The incident occurred on November 25, 2023, hours after São José Regional Hospital staff pronounced her dead.
Da Silva was admitted to the hospital on November 24, 2023, with suspected liver issues. Jessica Martins Silvi Pereira, da Silva’s close acquaintance and caregiver, visited her that day, noting da Silva’s unresponsiveness but saw her open one eye.
The family received notification of her death that night, the initial death certificate attributing it to a urinary tract infection.
Remarkably, da Silva spent around two hours in a body bag before being discovered alive, narrowly avoiding suffocation. A crematorium worker, arriving around 1:30 a.m. to collect her body, noticed she was still warm and lacked signs of rigor mortis, leading to the realization that she was alive.
Da Silva was readmitted to the hospital but was declared dead again early Monday morning, with septic shock as the cause on her second death certificate.
This misdiagnosis has sparked significant concerns about the hospital’s procedures and oversight. Da Silva’s family plans to sue the hospital, citing neglect. Pereira, da Silva’s caregiver, highlighted the incident as an example of the critical need for thorough medical checks to avoid such errors.
The incident, now under investigation, is being scrutinized to determine if the premature trip to the morgue played a role in da Silva’s eventual death, underlining the gravity of such procedural failures in healthcare.