Death knocks in Ecuador

By Michael Cook

Mourners in a funeral home in Ecuador got the shock of their lives when knocking came from within the coffin. They opened it up and found that a 76-year-old woman was still alive. A doctor at the local hospital had even issued a death certificate.

Retired nurse Bella Montoya had been admitted to Martin Icaza Hospital in Babahoyo, in west central Ecuador, on Friday, after a possible stroke and cardiopulmonary arrest. When she did not respond to resuscitation, she was pronounced dead.

“There were about 20 of us there,” her son told the media. “After about five hours of the wake, the coffin started to make sounds. My mom was wrapped in sheets and hitting the coffin, and when we approached, we could see that she was breathing heavily.”

The mourners rushed Ms. Montoya back to the hospital, where she was intubated. Her condition is still precarious, and she is not expected to live.

The Ecuadorian ministry of health is investigating unnamed doctors and a technical committee will review how the hospital issues death certificates. 

Editor’s note. This appeared in BioEdge and is reposted with permission.