Considering the technology and medical understanding we have at our disposal in the 21st century, we’d like to hope that we could avoid basic errors that would eventually lead to fatalities. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
This week, reports surfaced of a 37-year-old woman having been buried alive for over a week and a half after being pronounced dead by medical professionals in a hospital. Rosangela Almeida dos Santos, who was from Brazil, had suffered a cardiac arrest before “dying” from septic shock, and was buried on January 29th this year.
Tragically, on February 9th – 11 days after she’d been placed in a stone tomb – people living near the cemetery alerted Santos’ family that they could hear noises coming from her grave.
“When I got there right in front of the tomb, I heard banging from inside it,” said Natalina Silva, a local resident of the area where Santos was buried. She had been alerted to the noises by children who were playing in the graveyard. “I thought the kids who play around the cemetery were playing a joke on me. Then I heard her groan twice, and after those two groans she stopped.”
Unfortunately, by the time the woman’s family arrived, it was too late.
Germana de Almeida, the 66-year-old mother of the deceased, came face to face with the horrifying evidence that Santos left behind in her final days.
“[Santos] had tried to open the lid, even the nails that had been hammered in were loose,” she said. “Her hands were injured, like she had been trying to get out.”
The 37-year-old had also suffered injuries on her forehead from apparently attempting to fight her way out, and there were scratches and traces of blood on the interior of the coffin. Some of the people who helped pull her out of the tomb even claimed that she was still warm by the time they got to her – a sure sign that she was still breathing long after she’d been declared dead.
Isamara Almeida, Santos’ sister, said: “We don’t want to accuse any doctor, we don’t want to cause any problems,” but added that “we witnessed that situation, there’s just no way a person can be buried for 11 days and still be warm.”
An official investigation has been opened so that the family can find out what really led to their loved one meeting such a horrific end.
“We have today started to take statements from family members and other people,” said police chief Arnaldo Monte, who is leading the investigation. “If need be, we will exhume Ms. Santos’ body again so we can get to the bottom of what really happened.”
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the hospital that mistakenly signed her death certificate said that they “will provide all necessary information requested from them to the family and authorities.”
Santos had been in hospital for a week before she suffered the cardiac arrest, and had been brought there by her family after experiencing severe fatigue. She was married but did not have any children.