Europe

Polish woman declared dead wakes up in mortuary

  • 14 November 2014
  • From the section Europe
Body in morgue (stock image) Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The elderly woman appeared to have been admitted to the mortuary prematurely

A Polish woman who spent 11 hours in cold storage in a mortuary after being declared dead has returned to her family, complaining of feeling cold.

Officials say Janina Kolkiewicz, 91, was declared dead after an examination by the family doctor.

However, mortuary staff were astonished to notice movement in her body bag while it was in storage. The police have launched an investigation.

Back home, Ms Kolkiewicz warmed up with a bowl of soup and two pancakes.

Her family and doctor said they were in shock, according to the website of the Polish newspaper Dziennik Wschodni.

The woman's niece, in the eastern Polish town of Ostrow Lubelski, summoned the doctor after coming home one morning to find that her aunt did not seem to be breathing or to have a pulse.

After examining the woman, the family doctor declared her dead and wrote out her death certificate.

The body was taken to the mortuary and preparations were made for a funeral in two days' time.

"I was sure she was dead," Dr Wieslawa Czyz told the television channel TVP.

"I'm stunned, I don't understand what happened. Her heart had stopped beating, she was no longer breathing," Dr Czyz said.

However, the mortuary staff called some hours later to report that the woman was not yet dead, her niece told Dziennik Wschodni.

The death certificate has been declared invalid, the newspaper says.

Ms Kolkiewicz told her relatives she felt "normal, fine" after returning home.

She is apparently unaware of how near she came to the grave.

"My aunt has no inkling of what happened since she has late-stage dementia," Bogumila Kolkiewicz, her niece, told local media.

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