Maria José Neves, 72, who was being treated at Hospital da Posse in Nova Iguaçu, in the Brazilian southeastern state of Rio de Janeiro, was taken still alive to a mortuary in Rio.
After deciding that Maria José was dead, the hospital followed the standard procedure wrapping her body in a plastic bag and dispatching it to a mortuary.
Four hours later, however, when the grandchildren arrived into the mortuary to recognize the woman they found out that she was still breathing. They rushed Maria José to another hospital, but she never made it. She died late afternoon after being hospitalized again.
According to the family, the hospital that sent the old lady to the mortuary had already prepared and delivered her death certificate. When they heard, however, that the woman was still alive they took back the document and tore it into pieces.
Now the family wants the body subjected to an autopsy. They want to find out if her death was caused by the plastic bag that made it much harder for her to breathe.
The police has opened its own investigation to find out if there was medical negligence. The Hospital da Posse also says they have started their own internal review to investigate the mishap.