A family in Spain is in disbelief after their 85-year-old relative returned to her nursing home 10 days after they were told she had died of COVID-19, local media reported Sunday.
Officials from a nursing home in Xove in northern Spain told the family of Rogelia Blanco she was transferred to a facility in Pereiro de Aguiar for specialized care on Dec. 29 and died there on Jan. 13, La Voz de Galicia reported. The woman was buried the next day and the family was unable to attend to due to safety protocols aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus.
To the family’s surprise, Blanco returned to the nursing home free of COVID-19 on Saturday, according to La Voz. Her family was informed that the woman who died was her roommate, Concepción Arias.
Arias’ brother Maximino, 85, told the newspaper that he traveled to the nursing home Saturday believing his sister had been cured of COVID-19.
“When I got there they gave me the news: that my sister had been dead for 10 days,” he said. “That they were very sorry for the mistake and that now the court had to act and give permission for the transfer of the body.”
The San Rosendo Foundation, which runs the nursing home, said the identity mix-up happened when Blanco and other residents who tested positive for COVID-19 were transferred to Pereiro de Aguiar.
“Among the elderly people transferred were two women who were assigned the same room,” the foundation said in a statement to La Voz. “An identification error during the process of transfer from Xove to Pereiro de Aguiar led to the death of one of them being certified on Jan. 13, although the identity was wrongly assigned.”
The foundation expressed regret in its statement to La Voz de Galicia for the “unfortunate incident” that it described as a “one-off event, among more than 100 transfers.” The foundation did not immediately respond to a request for comment from USA TODAY.
Blanco’s husband, Ramón, was overwhelmed when a doctor informed him his wife had returned to the nursing home where they both live, relatives told the newspaper.
“He didn’t believe it. Of course, he was crying since the 13th for the death of his wife,” a relative told La Voz
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