A Russian grandmother who woke up in a morgue after being wrongly declared dead has now died, as investigators say the stress of her experience may be to blame.
Zinaida Kononova, 81, was originally pronounced dead on August 14 following surgery to remove an intestinal blockage at a hospital in southern Russia.
She was taken to the morgue at 1.10am but awoke at some point during the night, falling off an examination table as she tried to escape.
Kononova was eventually found by a nurse at 8am and rushed to intensive care at a different hospital in the city of Kursk, but has now died.
The Kursk Regional Healthcare Committee ‘expressed its condolences to the woman’s family and friends.
State investigators will now examine whether ‘the stress of waking up in the morgue affected the health of the elderly woman, and if it contributed to her death’.
The family’s lawyer Sergey Mezhevitin told REN TV: ‘They want to seek justice, because people should not wake up from anaesthetic in a morgue. ‘
He expected damages for the blunder which led to her being put in a morgue and ‘moral suffering’.
Doctors at the initial hospital insisted that Kononova was ‘biologically dead’ for one hour 20 minutes before being sent to the morgue.
Medical guidelines state that patients must be dead for at least two hours before being sent to the morgue.
The chief of the hospital has since been suspended for suspected negligence.
After discovering Ms Kononova alive, the hospital called the grandmother’s niece Tatiana Kulikova and told her: ‘We have an unusual situation. She is alive!’
Ms Kulikova was delighted her aunt was alive but asked the doctors: ‘How could this happen?’
She was told Ms Kononova had been registered as clinically dead, and was ‘literally pulled back from the other world’.
Ms Kulikova said: ‘She initially did not recognise me or recall that she had a surgery. But she talked about her old knee problem.’
Relatives of the pensioner are planning to sue the hospital, according to reports.
Acting hospital head Alexander Vlasov said: ‘For 30 minutes the patient underwent resuscitation measures.’
Ms Kononova did not respond, he said.
‘As a result, the resuscitation doctor established biological death, ascertained it,’ he added. ‘The anaesthetist is very worried. She feels very bad and we are afraid for her.
‘Every person makes mistakes. What will happen next with the career of this anaesthetist is still a question.’