Spanish woman who 'died' of COVID returned 10 days later

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.
January 26, 2021 | 06:51
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Rogelia Blanco, 85, was wrongly declared dead from coronavirus on January 13 in Spain and her relatives were told she had been buried - only for her to turn up alive on January 23 (file).

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 on January 24.

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 because of safety protocols aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

To the family's surprise, Blanco returned to the nursing home free of the virus on January 23, 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 he traveled to the nursing home on the day believing his sister had recovered from 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."

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Doctors treat Covid-19 patients at Enfermera Isabel Zendal hospital in Madrid, Spain, on January 11 2021. Photo: Reuters

The San Rosendo Foundation, which runs the nursing home, said the identity mix-up happened when Blanco and other residents who tested positive for the coronavirus 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.

Her husband, Ramón Blanco, also a resident, explained to La Voz de Galicia newspaper his overwhelming relief at seeing her.

"I could not believe it. I was crying, after the death of my wife," he was quoted by Newsweek as saying./.

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