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California court revives suit claiming woman frozen alive in morgue

Published on Apr 4, 2014 10:34 AM

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - A California appeals court has revived a malpractice suit brought by the family of an 80-year-old grandmother they claim was prematurely declared dead by doctors then frozen alive inside a body bag in the hospital's morgue.

A lower-court judge had dismissed the lawsuit brought in May 2012 by relatives of Maria de Jesus Arroyo against White Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles over the woman's 2010 death, on grounds that the statute of limitations had lapsed.

But a three-judge panel of a state appeals court sided with the family on Wednesday in agreeing they could not have known how Ms Arroyo was alleged to have died until it was brought to light by a pathologist in an expert opinion he gave in December 2011.

"Plaintiffs had absolutely no reason to suspect that the decedent was alive rather than dead when placed in the hospital morgue," the court said in its 27-page opinion. The lawsuit now goes back to Los Angeles Superior Court.

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