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Nebraska woman who was pronounced dead found alive at funeral home

(NewsNation) — A Nebraska woman who had been pronounced dead at a nursing home this week was later found to be alive by a funeral home worker who noticed she was still breathing.

Constance Glantz, 74, had been placed on hospice care at Mulberry Nursing Home in Waverly, Nebraska. Nursing home staff said she was dead at 9:44 a.m. Monday morning, and she was taken to a funeral home in Lincoln.

Then, at 11:45 a.m., the Lincoln Police Department and the Lincoln Fire and Rescue were dispatched to the funeral home for a “medical emergency,” Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Ben Houchin said at a news conference Monday. 

An employee who had been placing Glantz’s body on a table to start funeral preparations noticed she was breathing and called 911. Funeral home workers performed CPR on Glantz, who was taken to a local hospital. 

The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office started an investigation into what happened, but has not found any criminal intent by the nursing home, Houchin said.

Neither the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office nor the coroner had initially been called to the nursing home after staff pronounced Glantz dead, as it “did not fall into those parameters,” Houchin explained. This is because the death of the patient had been anticipated, and a physician had seen her in the last seven days.

In addition, the physician had been willing to sign the death certificate, and there had been nothing “suspicious” at the time, Houchin said. 

“This is a very unusual case,” Houchin said. “I’ve been doing this 31 years, and nothing like this has ever gotten to this point before.”

The Mulberry Nursing Home declined to comment when reached by NewsNation. Houchin said the nursing home and funeral home have been “totally cooperative,” adding that the latter did “nothing wrong.”

“They were the ones who found she was still alive,” Houchin said.

On Tuesday, Houchin announced that Glantz officially died at 4 p.m. Monday at a local hospital. 

“I can’t imagine what her family has went through, and we are really, really sorry for them to have to do that,” Houchin said, referring to the incident that happened earlier Monday.

He said the sheriff’s office gives their condolences to her loved ones. 

An autopsy was performed Tuesday, but final results can take up to 12 weeks to come through. 

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