NATIONAL NEWS

A woman in hospice care was declared dead, hours later, something truly astonishing happened

Jun 4, 2024, 9:50 AM

Constance Glantz's body was taken to Butherus-Maser & Love, a funeral home in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Ma...

Constance Glantz's body was taken to Butherus-Maser & Love, a funeral home in Lincoln, Nebraska. Mandatory Credit: Butherus-Maser & Love via CNN Newsource

(CNN) — Constance Glantz had been in a nursing home. In hospice care.

Whatever ailment had ushered her toward this inescapable brink, the 74-year-old’s death – as those whose business it is to care for the recently departed often say – had been expected.

They call such cases “a ‘death of a patient is anticipated,’” the sheriff’s chief deputy in Lancaster County, Nebraska, later would explain: “A physician had seen her in the last seven days, and the physician is willing to sign the death certificate, and that there was nothing suspicious at that time of the death – all of those fit.”

Under such circumstances, a coroner’s investigation would not be required and no law enforcement officer dispatched, Ben Houchin said.

“That’s the reason,” continued Houchin, still working through the astonishing – some might say miraculous – events that had only just unfolded Monday, “why (the sheriff’s office) was not sent initially to the nursing home.”

Indeed, earlier that same day – at 9:44 a.m. – staff at The Mulberry home in Waverly had pronounced Constance dead, the chief deputy said.

Given the outcome had been foreseen, at least two people likely then came to take her body away to be prepared for what would come next, he said – no further confirmation needed.

At the funeral home in Lincoln, more experts in death soon moved to place Constance on a table, Houchin said, “to start their process.”

It was only then that a worker noticed something truly odd.

Nearly two hours since the nursing home staff’s final declaration and after what would be a 25-minute drive to the funeral home, Constance – whose name comes from the Latin, “constant” or “steadfast” – exhibited something truly extraordinary:

She was breathing.

“They instantly called 911,” the veteran lawman said.

The call from Butherus-Maser & Love, as CNN affiliate KOLN reported, came in around 11:45 a.m., Houchin said.

Lincoln police, fire and rescue personnel rushed to the funeral home, where they found Constance engaged in that entirely ordinary – and also then somehow impossible act – of breathing.

“She was taken to a local hospital,” Houchin said that afternoon, “and is still alive.”

Details of Constance’s condition Monday evening weren’t immediately available, and CNN has sought comment from the nursing home in Waverly and the funeral home in Lincoln.

Glantz’s family was told about what happened, Houchin said, and the sheriff’s office has started an investigation, including visiting the nursing home.

“At this point, we have not been able to find any criminal intent by the nursing home, but the investigation is ongoing,” he said. “I’m sure the nursing home and everybody else is going to be taking a look into what has happened, and I’m sure they’ll look and see if new protocols need to be made and if they were all followed.”

For his part, the chief deputy has “been doing this 31 years, and nothing like this has ever gotten to this point before,” he told reporters.

“This,” he observed, perhaps unnecessarily, “is a very unusual case.”


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A woman in hospice care was declared dead, hours later, something truly astonishing happened