Dead Drunk: Polish Man Passes Out Drinking . . . Wakes Up In Body Bag Awaiting An Autopsy In Morgue

120px-Toe_tagThere is an interesting potential tort action out of Poland. In the United States, there is heightened liability standards for the mishandling of corpses. However, what if you mishandle a person who you thought was a corpse? That is what happened to Marek Michalski, 56, who drank himself into a stupor and passed out on a bench in Pieotrkow, Poland. He was assumed dead and bagged and sent to the morgue. He woke up in a body bag in the morgue and had to roll off a table to free himself from the body bag.

The first negligence occurred with the ambulance crew who clearly detected no pulse. Obviously there was a pulse but alcohol can certainly suppress it. That is why he was taken to a hospital. The hospital released a statement that “They [the staff] believed that the man was dead and followed procedure by putting him inside a sealed bag.” They “believed that the man was dead”? How does that work. “Hey Doc does he look dead?” “Yup, he has many of the characteristics of a dead guy. He is not moving. He is cold. Yup, he is dead.”

Here is the same doctor at work collecting the dead from the streets of Pieotrkow:

Michalski is, not surprisingly, planning to sue and says that he has recurring nightmares of being the subject of a live autopsy. In the United States, it would be a slam-dunk for negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress. He may however want to consider a 12-step program after his resurrection.

12 thoughts on “Dead Drunk: Polish Man Passes Out Drinking . . . Wakes Up In Body Bag Awaiting An Autopsy In Morgue”

  1. It happens.

    I remember reading that George Washington, who had witnessed many supposed deaths on the battlefield, left specific instruction that nothing was to be done to his body for three days after his death.

    ‘George Washington spoke, requesting to be “decently buried” and to “not let my body be put into the Vault in less than three days after I am dead.”‘

  2. Dead drunk that is. In my years of nursing I’ve heard of two no code patients that were deemed dead with all the accompanying signs, to start breathing again without resuscitation. I’ve personally seen several patients with extremely long periods of apnea take a couple more breaths before succumbing. One time it happened to a son sitting with his father during his fathers dying process. It appeared to the son that his father had taken his last breath and he covered his father’s head with the sheet (which we never do). He came to the nurses station to report hat his dad had passed, so I went down to the room to verify. Just before pulling the sheet off of the father’s head he took another big breath. Startled us a bit and made for a good story in the nurse’s report during shift change.

    As for damages for the drunk, eh.

  3. What was the body temperature? Cold body infused with alcohol — very slow and suppressed pulse, very slow and shallow breathing, fixed and dilated eyes — makes it much harder to detect a pulse than to miss one? I’m not sure negligence is a slam dunk even in the US.

  4. I learned in Poland to not sleep next to a park bench. My half blind guy for whom I am guide dog was seated in a park, on a park bench when the Stasi came and arrested us. They respected me but treated half blind guy like a blind guy. They made a photo copy of his passport and later we found out that some guy tried to enter the U.S. on a forged fake passport. They stole all our money and even some dog biscuits. The U.S. Consulate got us out of jail and out of Poland. uckFay olandPay on the oooyA.

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