Something unexpected happened during a funeral in Ecuador over the weekend. The ceremony was held in honor of Bella Montoya, a retired nurse, who was pronounced dead at the age of 76. The only problem was that she wasn’t dead. The family halted the funeral when they heard strange sounds from inside the coffin where they found Montoya alive and breathing.
The nurse was believed to be dead after suffering from a stroke and going into cardiac arrest. She was unconscious when the family took her to the hospital. When she didn’t respond to resuscitation, the doctor at Martín Icaza de Babahoyo Hospital declared that she had passed away.
The family held her funeral that same day when she finally woke up.
Her son, Gilberto Barbera, said the scene felt like something out of a horror movie. “It gave us all a fright,” he told the Associated Press. “There were about 20 of us there. After about five hours of the wake, the coffin started to make sounds. My mom was wrapped in sheets and hitting the coffin, and when we approached, we could see that she was breathing heavily.”
A witness even recorded a video of the scene, which shows two men standing over the coffin with a woman inside wrapped in sheets struggling to breathe as the two men support her head.
“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,” Barbera said in the clip, which was posted on social media.
EvoCentral on Twitter: “BREAKING: According to local authorities and her relatives, a 76-year-old woman who was confirmed dead at a hospital pounded on her coffin at a wake in Ecuador. She was transported in critical condition back to the hospital. https://t.co/KO6kHtsRYh” / Twitter
Once the family realized what was going on, they rushed her back to the hospital so the doctors could put her back in the ICU. She was intubated and remains in “unstable” condition, according to the local health ministry. Barbera said the doctors didn’t give the family much hope that she would make it out alive.
Ecuador is known for its healthcare system around the world. It is currently ranked in the top 50 in terms of efficiency and offers universal coverage to all citizens. The health ministry also said it has formed an independent committee to investigate how the premature diagnosis came about.