Healthcare News & Insights

Hospital misidentifies dead accident victim; wrong family holds vigil for survivor

After a brutal car accident, an Arizona hospital spent hours trying to identify the injured and dying victims. It didn’t get it right.

Hospital officials at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Phoenix faced a chaotic situation last week when five victims arrived at the ER following a horrific car rollover accident involving five friends.

Family members of the victims were asked for identifying features to help identify the badly injured victims — one of whom died that night.

Marlena Cantu, 21, didn’t survive the accident, but she was misidentified — instead the family of her friend, Abby Guerra, 19, was informed that they had lost their daughter. Meanwhile, Cantu’s family spent the following week by the bedside of the woman they thought was Marlena.

The mistake was discovered last Saturday, after the victim’s dental records were finally examined.

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