Family misinformed about grandmother's death

February 25, 2010 3:23:05 PM PST
A local family got quite a surprise after they were told their grandmother had died at a hospital in Brooklyn. They began making funeral arrangements and notifying relatives.But when they showed up at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, they found out 93-year-old Ella Abrams was very much alive.

"Jasmine went in there, and Jasmine started hollering, crying, she says, "Oh my God, she's alive, she's alive," Abrams' daughter Martha Covington said.

Great-granddaughter Jasmine Goodwin says a hospital staffer told her on the phone Wednesday that her family's matriarch had passed away. But when the family went to the ICU to gather her things, they saw her name on the door and Ella inside.

"What is granny's name still doing on the door if they pronounced her dead?" Martha said.

With the family horrified in the hall, Jasmine ventured in the room, saw the ventilator still on and felt Ella's hand.

"She was warm, and she moved her head," Goodwin said. "So I started screaming. I screamed and ran out, and I was like, 'Mommy, Mommy, she's alive!"

Unbelievable shock was followed by relief and anger.

"The lady came in and she's very light and 'Oh, it was a mistake,'" Abrams' granddaughter Tracie Covington said. "No, that's not a mistake. How can you say that's a mistake? That's is straight negligence."

"She said, 'She expired this morning. I'm sorry, she passed away,'" Jasmine said.

And the medical center admits that in a statement, saying "Kingsbrook believes strongly in the importance of clear and accurate communication with the families of our patients, and Kingsbrook has expressed its deep regret over the miscommunication directly to the patient's family."

All of the woman's relatives say beyond an apology, they would like to see the person responsible out of that job and assurances that nothing like this will happen again.