Family: Woman Mistaken As Dead Actually Froze In Morgue

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Boyle Heights' White Memorial Medical Center is facing a lawsuit filed by the family of a woman relatives claim was frozen to death at the hospital in 2010. Photo courtesy of LA Times.

The family of a woman that could have been prematurely declared deceased, woke up in a hospital’s freezer and tried desperately to escape before being frozen to death can go forward with a lawsuit against the hospital, according to The LA Times.

An appellate court ruled that the lawsuit could proceed.

The woman, identified as Maria de Jesus Arroyo, 80, was declared dead in July, 2010, at the White Memorial Medical Center in Boyle Heights. She had suffered a heart attack, according to The LA Times.

A few days later, morticians took her body, and they noticed she was facedown, with a broken nose with both bruises and cuts on her face. These injuries were reportedly so bad that make-up could not hide them, court documents state.

Initially, Arroyo’s husband and children filed a lawsuit against the hospital saying that the corpse had been mistreated after Arroyo’s death. However, a pathologist reviewed Arroyo’s injuries and concluded that they most likely occurred while she was still living.

Court documents stated she had likely been “frozen alive,” “eventually woke up” and “damaged her face and turned herself face down as she struggled unsuccessfully to escape her frozen tomb.”

To read the full story from the LA Times, click here.