Judge Rules Family Can Sue for Woman Frozen Alive
A California appeals court ruled Wednesday that the family of a woman alleged to have been frozen alive by an L.A. hospital may proceed with a lawsuit.
Woman Prematurely Declared Dead
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the Second District Court of Appeals overturned a decision made by a lower court, allowing the family of Maria de Jesus Arroyo to proceed with a lawsuit against White Memorial Medical Center.
According to reports, Arroyo was pronounced dead by White Memorial Medical Center after suffering a heart attack in 2010. Days later when morticians received her body, Arroyo had severe injuries to her face, including a broken nose. Arroyo’s husband and eight children filed a lawsuit against White Memorial for the mishandling of her body.
Pathologist Concludes Woman Was Alive
However, during litigation a pathologist concluded that Arroyo’s injuries had most likely occurred while she was still alive. Court records say Arroyo “eventually woke up” after being placed in a hospital freezer alive and sustained the injuries trying to escape.
The initial lawsuit for mishandling the body was withdrawn and the family’s attorney refiled a medical malpractice lawsuit in May 2012 alleging that the hospital erroneously declared Arroyo dead and froze her alive. A trial judge threw out the lawsuit saying the case went beyond the one-year statute of limitations.
On Wednesday, the Second District Court of Appeals overturned that decision and renewed the lawsuit. The justices wrote, “Plaintiffs had absolutely no reason to suspect that the decedent was alive rather than dead when palced in the Hospital morgue and when disfiguring injuries occurred.”
A Los Angeles County Superior Court will hear further proceedings.