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Woman presumed dead found alive in coffin at her wake in Ecuador

Jun 13, 2023, 1:16 PM

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(CNN) — A 76-year-old woman who was declared dead at a hospital in Ecuador was found to be alive and knocking on her coffin during her own wake in the city of Babahoyo.

“I lifted up the coffin, and her heart was pounding, and her left hand was hitting the coffin… We called 911 to bring her here to the hospital,” her son Gilberto Barbera said in a video posted on social media.

In the video, people could be seen waiting and supporting Montoya as emergency services arrived at the scene, taking the 76-year-old woman back to the hospital.

A state investigation is now underway, according to the Ministry of Public Health.

It says the woman had been admitted Friday to the hospital with a possible stroke and cardiopulmonary arrest, and after she didn’t respond to resuscitation protocol, a doctor on duty declared her dead.

The video also goes on to show her hospital tags and then her son, who is shown pleading for an ambulance to arrive.

The woman’s full name is widely reported to be Bella Yolanda Montoya Castro, corresponding to the initials “B.Y.M.C” used in Ecuador’s Health Ministry statement issued on Sunday.

It said Montoya was in intensive care at the Martín Icaza Hospital in Babahoyo – the same facility that initially declared her dead. Her current condition is unknown.

CNN’s calls to the hospital for comment have not been returned.

The man recording the video later asked the name of the woman, to which someone in the room replied: “Bella Yolanda.”

The ministry went on to say that, in coordination with the Health Services Quality Assurance Agency, a national technical committee was formed “to initiate a medical audit to establish responsibilities for the alleged confirmation of death.”


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Woman presumed dead found alive in coffin at her wake in Ecuador