Bioethics Blogs

Janina Kolkiewicz Wakes Up in Morgue after Pronounced Dead

On November 6, a Polish physician made a house call on 91-year-old Janina Kolkiewicz.  But after finding “no basic life functions,” the physician declared her dead.  Two hours later she was taken to the morgue.

The physician checked for a pulse on a forearm and neck arteries, listened for a heartbeat and the sound of breathing, and checked the pupils for reaction to light, but found none. (CBC News)


Nevertheless, shortly before midnight, an undertaker who brought in another body noticed that Kolkiewicz was moving inside a bag she had been placed in. Once it was opened, she complained of being cold and asked for hot tea, the media said. She was then taken home.


Local officials are urging a regional court to void the death certificate that discontinued Kolkiewicz’s benefits such as her pension.


The Guardian collects other cases to make the point that this situation is not as uncommon as you might think.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.