May 15, 2020 / 7:15 PM / 10 days ago

False claim: Family of COVID-19 victim broke into morgue to find her still breathing inside body bag 

A number of Facebook users have shared a video falsely claiming it shows a woman alive and breathing in a body bag at a morgue after her family were told she had died from COVID-19.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

The video, uploaded to Facebook on May 10, shows an elderly woman lying on a grey plastic sheet. The person filming the video scans the woman’s body, before lifting her hand to show the camera (here) .

In the accompanying Facebook caption, the user says the woman’s relatives were told she had died from COVID-19, but “when they forced their way into the morgue she was still alive in the zipped up body bag still breathing”. The caption also implies this was taken in a British hospital by linking it to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). 

It continued: “NHS your gonna get whats coming to you imagine if it was not for my grandmother and many other nurses who came to this country to help build the nhs and this is how you treat our people in your care.”

But this was not filmed in the UK, nor does it show proof that a woman was found to be alive after being mistakenly assumed to have died from COVID-19. 

The video can be traced back to Brazil, where it went viral last week with similar claims that the woman had been taken to the morgue when she was still alive (here, here, here). 

Brazilian brand names on products seen at various points in the 46-second clip also give clues to the location, including the logo for Brazilian packaging company Descarbox, and a bottle of water emblazoned with the logo for Floratta, a company based in the northern state of Pará (www.descarbox.com.br/, here). 

On May 6, the Department of Health in Pará released a statement saying the video showed a patient at the Abelardo Santos Hospital in Belém, a hospital currently focused on treating patients with COVID-19 (here). 

It added that the patient, referred to as Mrs A. V. S, had since died, but was “never referred to the Abelardo Santos morgue while she was alive”. 

A piece of paper tucked beneath the woman’s leg in the video shows the first part of her “nome” (Portuguese for “name”) is “Anito”. It isn’t possible to make out the characters in the rest of her name, but this matches up with the first initial provided by the Pará Department of Health.

Mrs A.V.S had travelled to the hospital’s emergency department on May 4 and was in a “serious condition,” the statement continued. The following day, she was sent to a critical care room after her condition worsened, where she later died. 

The statement also said the grey plastic sheet that Facebook users had identified as a body bag was actually “apparatus used as a transfer support between stretchers; a common method in hospitals”. 

According to the Pará Department of Health, an internal investigation has now been launched into how the video was leaked, and said it amounted to “an unethical, inhumane attitude liable to criminal punishment”. 

VERDICT 

False. The video does not show a woman being found alive in a body bag in the morgue after her family were told she had died from COVID-19. 

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here .

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