California man sues doctor, alleges wife froze to death in morgue

A medical expert says Maria Arroyo had been "prematurely declared dead" and "frozen alive" inside the morgue of a Los Angeles hospital.
By Brooks Hays  |  April 4, 2014 at 1:10 PM
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LOS ANGELES, April 4 (UPI) -- Guadalupe Arroyo is suing the White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles for negligence and the wrongful death of his wife.

Mr. Arroyo alleges that his wife Maria, an 80-year-old mother of eight, was prematurely pronounced dead. In his latest suit filed against the hospital, he and his lawyer say she came to inside a storage drawer in the morgue, but -- unable to escape -- she froze to death.

After morticians found the body of Maria Arroyo face-down in a morgue compartment with severe cuts and bruises, Arroyo and his family elicited the services of lawyer and sued the hospital for mishandling his wife's body.

However, a medical expert arrived at a different theory, as ABC News reporting and court documents reveal. The expert claimed Maria Arroyo had been "prematurely declared dead" and "frozen alive" inside the morgue.

The bruises and scars weren't evidence of mistreatment, but proof that she “eventually woke up" -- revived by the extreme cold -- and "damaged her face and turned herself face down as she struggled unsuccessfully to escape her frozen tomb."

The hospital maintains that its employees did nothing but offer medical treatment by the books. Hospital officials say that, after resuscitation failed to revive Maria Arroyo from cardiac arrest, she was pronounced dead by clinical and diagnostic standards, and that the body laid lifeless in the hospital room for several hours -- with her family grieving beside her for much of that time.

"We are confident that the evidence will establish that the treating doctor at all times acted appropriately and in keeping with the standard of care for an emergency room physician," the hospital's lawyer Ryan Deane told ABC News.

Earlier this year, a Mississippi man woke up in a body bag several hours after he had been pronounced dead. The man died two weeks later.

[Yahoo News] [KVNU]

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