Man Sues Doctor and Hospital: Says Wife Wasn’t Really Dead, She Froze To Death in Morgue (Watch)

Maria Arroyo

Maria Arroyo


*Warning: This is a very hard story to wrap your brain around. It’s bad enough to lose someone we love, but to learn that they suffered is even worse.

A California man is suing the doctor who declared his wife dead.


Because he claims she woke up in the morgue and froze to death as she  struggled to escape.

The diagnosis was that Maria Arroyo, 80, had died as a result of cardiac arrest, and when husband Guadalupe Arroyo saw the condition of her body, he thought staff at White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles had mishandled her. But morticians found  her body face-down in the metal morgue compartment, with a broken nose along with bruises and cuts too severe to mask. The body bag was also partially open.

The conclusion is that Maria wasn’t dead when they said she was.

Arroyo and his children sued the hospital for negligence, claiming staff “mishandled” his wife’s remains. But a medical expert called to testify in the case had a different theory, according to court documents: Maria Arroyo had been “prematurely declared dead” and “frozen alive” in the hospital’s freezer. She “eventually woke up” due to the extreme cold and “damaged her face and turned herself face down as she struggled unsuccessfully to escape her frozen tomb,” the expert said.

The family is suing Dr. John Plosay and White Memorial Medical Center for negligence and the wrongful death of his wife in July 2010. The hospital attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed on the grounds that the 2012 filing was outside of the one-year statute of limitations. But an appeals court ruled Wednesday that the suit could move forward because the medical expert’s “frozen alive” theory didn’t emerge until December 2011.

White Memorial Medical Center disagrees with the findings and in a statement their spokeswoman, Alicia Gonzalez, says it is hospital policy “not to comment on pending litigation or to provide details about any of our patients out of respect for their privacy and that of their families.”

Gonzalez adds:

“However, we wish to note that we continue to disagree with the allegations being made,” Gonzalez told in the statement. “We followed all proper protocals [sic] in this matter and are confident that once the facts of the case are reviewed we will prevail in court.”

Ryan Deane, an attorney representing Plosay, echoed the hospital’s statement that his client had followed protocol.

See two different news reports of this story below.

“This case keeps me awake at night,” says family attorney, Scott Schutzman. See his interview in the video below.

Read more of this sad and bizarre story at ABCNews.

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