Sunday, April 21, 2024

She Watched Her Oldest Son Die. Then He Received a Call From Him

Heather Insley spent several excruciating days watching her oldest son die at Ottawa’s Montfort Hospital.

She and her family honored his wishes, signed papers for his organ donations, and planned his funeral.

On the day he was cremated, however, she received a text from a number she didn’t recognize. She immediately called her husband, who assured her it was just a cruel prank.

insley with man

Several days later, she received another message. Desperate to find out who was on the other end of the ‘sick joke’, she dialed the number that popped up. To her surprise, the man who picked up sounded exactly like his son’s.

She was understandably spooked.

She and her husband Bill eventually confirmed that the man was indeed, their son, and with the help of the local police, they were able to track him down.

When the couple went to visit him, Insley immediately went ‘numb’ the second he answered the door. She thought to herself that his funeral was tomorrow yet he was alive.

But that raised another question – if her son is alive and well, who was the man that they mourned at the hospital?


According to their son, Sean Cox, he had no idea about the ordeal that happened at the hospital. After hearing the story from his parents, however, he feels that he’s been given another chance and is determined to ‘live differently.’

The day they saw their son was the first time in over four years. According to Insley, Cox struggles with drugs and addiction, moves frequently, and only communicates with them now and then.

They have always been worried that they would receive a call like the one they received on New Year’s Day, but they never would have imagined that it would be a case of mistaken identity.

According to Montfort Hospital, the true identity of the deceased man has been determined and their families have been notified.

For Insley and her family, however, the ordeal has been a traumatic nightmare. The man whose death they had mourned, had been found outside the hospital facility unresponsive and had been put on life support for several weeks after never having regained consciousness.

One of the nurses at the hospital had thought the man was Cox as he had been hospitalized at the same facility two months ago after an overdose.

The Man Who Was Mistakenly Identified

On New Year’s Day, Insley received a call from the hospital, telling her one of her family members was in ‘severe condition’. As soon as she provided her son’s date of birth, she was told to get to the hospital as quickly as possible.

After a four-hour drive, she and her husband arrived at the hospital room, where they found a man lying in bed hooked up to several ventilator tubes. According to Insley, the man had the ‘same haircut and eyelashes’ as his son so they never doubted that the man wasn’t Cox.

Nearly a week later, they filled out the paperwork for his organs to be donated.

In hindsight, however, she realizes there may have been signs that the man wasn’t her son. While Cox had tattoos on his arms and a birthmark on one of his legs, they were not able to confirm these as the man had been wrapped in thermal blankets and sheets.

None of the hospital staff asked them about any identifying features that their son had either.

cox handprint

After the misidentification was revealed, police were able to determine the man’s true identity using his hand prints.

While Insley still doesn’t know who the man they mourned was, she is grateful that they were able to show love and be there for another young man.

Brooke Carter
Brooke Carter
Freelance writer who loves dogs and anything related to Japanese culture.


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