Sunday, 25 June 2023 03:45

Woman who woke up during own funeral dies in hospital

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An Ecuadorian woman has died in hospital just days after she stunned mourners at her wake by knocking from the inside of her coffin after she had been mistakenly declared as deceased by a doctor.

Bella Montoya, 76, died last week in the Ecuadorian city of Babahoyo – or so doctors thought – before she made it clear to guests at her wake that reports of her death had been very much premature.

Montoya was swiftly removed from what was intended to be her eternal resting place and rushed back to hospital where her condition was upgraded to ‘alive.’ But after seven days of treatment she died – for good, this time – on Friday of an ischemic stroke, Ecuador’s health ministry confirmed in a statement.

Health officials added that Montoya was kept under “permanent surveillance” while in hospital. “This time my mother really did die,” her son Gilbert Barbera told local media. “My life will not be the same.”

On her actual death, Montoya was returned to the same funeral home where she first alerted mourners that her death had been declared a little too hastily. She will be buried at a public cemetery, according to reports in Ecuadorian media.

It was also reported in the country’s press that Montoya had a condition called catalepsy, the symptoms of which include seizures, a loss of consciousness and rigidity in the body – ailments which were apparently confused by a doctor for rigor mortis.

Montoya was first declared deceased on June 9. After almost five hours with her inside her coffin, mourners heard noises emanating from inside it and opened it up to discover her very much alive .

She was returned to hospital by emergency services but doctors were unable to prolong her life very much longer before she succumbed to stroke.

Montoya’s apparent Lazarus-like return to life follows a similar incident in New York State earlier this year in which an 82-year-old woman was found to be breathing while awaiting funeral proceedings. She had been declared dead three hours earlier.


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