Teen Declared Dead in Crash Found Alive a Week Later

Hospital mix-up confuses Abby Guerra for Marlena Cantu
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2010 10:18 AM CDT

A tragic hospital mix-up has brought one teen back from the dead, while deepening another family's heartache. The family of 19-year-old Abby Guerra was told the soccer player died in a July 18 car crash. On Saturday, as they made the final preparations for her funeral, they learned that she was actually alive, bruised beyond recognition and confused with 21-year-old Marlena Cantu, another passenger in the car who the hospital believed had survived. The hospital is blaming heavy volume for the fact that the medical examiner's office allowed a week to pass before verifying Guerra's identity.

Though Guerra's head was shaved for brain surgery and her eyes were blackened, AolNews points out that the misidentification could have been avoided: Cantu had a large scar on her stomach from having her appendix out, had fewer ear piercings than Guerra, and was taller. The women were traveling back to Arizona from Disneyland when one of their rear tires blew out, causing the car to flip. Guerra remains in critical condition with a brain injury, collapsed lung, and broken back; one other passenger died, and the remaining two were hospitalized with severe head trauma. Click here for more on the sad mix-up.
(More Abby Guerra stories.)

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