Abby Guerra lives.Imagine being the mother on the other end of this phone call: "Hello, this is the police. Your daughter didn't die in a car crash last week as we previously thought. She's alive."
This was the gist of the message that the mother of Abby Guerra, a 19-year-old teen believed to have been killed when her SUV flipped over last week on the highway, killing two passengers (one of which was thought to be her) and critically injuring another three, received recently.
What is joyous news for one family is shocking and almost cruel to another. The family of the girl who was said to have survived the crash, 21-year-old Marlena Cantu, got word that their daughter had died after all. It was all a case of mistaken identity.
This, after the Cantu family had been sitting at the woman's bedside all week, praying that she would pull through. The woman was Guerra, whose face was so badly broken, swollen, and bruised, even her family didn't recognize her.
But the hospital still should have.
The two women were traveling home to Arizona from a day out at Disneyland in Southern California with three former high school friends when the left-rear tire of their SUV blew out, causing the vehicle to flip, according to AOL News. Cantu and a male passenger were killed.
The hospital, St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix, has failed to issue an official statement about the mess-up, but family members blamed a busy emergency room and lack of staff on the mistake. Hospital staff apparently did not refer to the women's medical records before making the identification, even though there were some visibly obvious traits that would have given the identities away, including a scar on Cantu's stomach from a removed appendix and fewer piercings. Cantu also was several inches taller and had her wisdom teeth -- Guerra doesn't.
No word on how the Cantu family reacted to the mistake, though I'm sure we can pretty well imagine the range of emotions there. The Guerra family, angry and happy at the same time, has already said it will launch an initiative to prevent such mix-ups from happening to another family.