Man, Pronounced Dead, Spontaneously Comes Back to Life

By Allison Bond | June 11, 2009 4:25 pm

EKGComing back from the dead sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but it happened to a 23-year-old U.K. man: His pulse began again half an hour after doctors pronounced him dead. Sadly, his heart stopped beating permanently two days later, and a coroner declared death due to natural causes.

It’s not the first time someone has literally come back to life—but, with only 38 cases reported worldwide, it’s pretty rare. The condition is called Lazarus Syndrome, an allusion to the Biblical story in which Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, and it occurs when a person’s circulation spontaneously returns after resuscitation attempts fail.

In the past, the syndrome has triggered fears of being buried, or even autopsied, while still alive. It’s a pretty creepy thought… one that we’ll try not to consider ever again.

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Image: flickr / ernstl

  • QUASAR

    So, his vital signs just came back on instantly?

    Good thing he wasn’t burried! Waking up inside a coffin can be very spooky and you’d only last less than 1 hour!

  • wjv

    The article doesn’t indicate if the man was responsive to others in anyway during the two days after he spontaneously revivified. It would be incredible if he was still coherent enough to have a conversation. But I’m betting he was essentially in a vegetative state for those two days, and not capable of any conscientious awareness after his heart stopped the first time.

  • http://drvitelli.typepad.com Romeo Vitelli

    If his heart stopped then there was no blood being pumped to his brain. Lack of oxygen for even a few minutes leads to irreversible brain damage so I can imagine what half an hour would do. It’s a miracle that he woke up at all.

  • Autymn D. C.

    pulse of heart onely? or heart and brain?

  • AresMan

    Waking up in a coffin would be scary…. didnt they used to have things for that though, so if you were buried alive you could ring a bell in your coffin and people would come back to get you? People were crazy in the past…

  • Heimdall

    To answer AriesMan, the bell wasn’t in the coffin, it was above-ground.

    A pipe with a cord ran from the coffin to the bell, the idea being that if the corpse…umm, person…woke up, he/she could pull the cord and ring the bell. Someone was posted at the bell to wait for it to ring and raise an alarm so that the person could be dug up.

    The bell observer that watched at night was said to be “taking the midnight shift”, hence the origin of our term for the work shift that begins around 12 midnight.

  • Gardener

    Close – it was called the graveyard shift.

  • Valdez

    To Aries Man:

    “People were crazy in the past….” And they aren’t now?

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  • Sierra

    They never tell you enough!!! you always have qustions and wonder about things like … did he have brain damage after words … how long did he live befor he died AGAIN … did he have and vidal sings at all or was he gone even after his heart started ? importan qustions gosh

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