According to her son, an elderly Ecuadoran woman who had been declared dead two days prior by the same state hospital is now receiving treatment there after waking up inside her own coffin during her wake. A video shared on Twitter shows Bella Montoya, aged 76, visibly struggling to breathe while two men assist her.
Gilbert Balberán, Montoya’s son, revealed that she began hitting the coffin with her left hand shortly after the wake had been underway for five hours. Due to the family’s financial situation, Balberán had to arrange for the donation of a coffin. The incident occurred at the Martin Icaza public hospital in the coastal town of Babahoyo.
“They even gave us a death certificate,” he said in a video broadcast by local media.
Ecuadoran media reported the unusual incident, with headlines celebrating the woman’s “resurrection”.
“My mom is on oxygen. Her heart is stable. The doctor pinched her hand and she reacted,” Balberán said in an El Universo newspaper report.
“They tell me that this is good, because it means that she is reacting little by little.”
According to a statement from Ecuador’s Health Ministry, Montoya was admitted to the hospital with suspected stroke symptoms. Unfortunately, she went into cardiorespiratory arrest and did not respond to resuscitation attempts, leading the attending doctor to confirm her death. The ministry has formed a committee to investigate the incident and will oversee Montoya’s care.
Balberán mentioned that he visited his mother in the intensive care unit of the hospital on Sunday.
“Little by little I am grasping what has happened. Now I only pray for my mother’s health to improve. I want her alive and by my side,” he said.