Revived medical malpractice suit says woman was frozen alive - WKRN News 2

Revived medical malpractice suit says woman was frozen alive

White Memorial Medical Center, Courtesy: L.A. Times White Memorial Medical Center, Courtesy: L.A. Times

A medical malpractice suit regarding a Los Angeles woman, who was declared dead prematurely and froze to death in a hospital freezer, has been revived.

Maria de Jesus Arroyo, 80, suffered from a heart attack in July 2010 and was pronounced dead at a Los Angeles medical center. She awoke in the hospital's freezer and struggled before eventually dying, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Morticians later found her body facedown with her nose broken and cuts and bruises on her face.

Before discovering the injuries occurred prior to her death, Arroyo's family sued the hospital for mishandling her body.

It wasn't until a pathologist reviewed her injuries during litigation that it was discovered she had still been alive.

In May 2012 Scott Schutzman, the family's attorney, withdrew the original lawsuit and refiled a second case stating the hospital mistakenly declared Arroyo dead and froze her alive.

The lawsuit was thrown out by a Los Angeles trial judge because the suit was filed after the one-year statute of limitations.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal overturned the trial judge Wednesday, arguing that the family could not have known Arroyo was frozen alive until the pathologist reviewed her injuries in December 2011.

"Plaintiffs had absolutely no reason to suspect that the decedent was alive rather than dead when placed in the Hospital morgue and when the disfiguring injuries occurred," the appellate justices wrote in their opinion.

The case is returning to Los Angeles County Superior Court for further proceedings.

*Los Angeles Times contributed to this story.

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