A 92-year-old woman was about to be laid to rest when the seemingly impossible happened.
She had been found in her room at a retirement home in Germany, not breathing and without a pulse. A doctor was called in to declare her dead, and, finding her without breath or pulse, did so. Then her body was transferred to a funeral home, and she was set in a refrigerated room.
A few hours later, she woke up with a groan, asking “Where am I?”
The undertaker promptly passed out in shock.
According to the head of the retirement home Lother Burger, this had never happened before.
He said “the terrible and inexplicable” incident had led to a press feeding frenzy. “We are being devoured by the press,” he said to a Daily Mail reporter “we are being pilloried.”
This is not the kind of thing that happens every day; it actually sounds like the kind of thing that happens in the movies, the kind of movies that give people nightmares.
The German funeral director who found a living, breathing woman who had only been dead a few hours before got the fright of his life. After fainting and composing himself, the undertaker had the woman taken to the nearest hospital where she apparently died two days later from a heart disease that is said not to be related to the bizarre “death and resurrection” incident.
An investigation was launched to determine how the doctor could have made the mistake of declaring someone who was alive as dead. A lot is not known about the doctor as his name has been withheld pending the completion of the investigation by authorities. Nothing has been said about this being an isolated case or something that has happened before. Essen prosecutor Birgit Juergens said that if the doctor is found to have been negligent then he could face anything from a fine to a prison sentence if found guilty of negligent bodily harm.
Dead people coming alive mere hours after being declared as deceased may sound bizarre but it happens, very rarely.
There have been incredible stories of dead people waking up hours later alive and literarily kicking their way out of body bags in the morgue or stepping out of actual coffins.
The German incident is not the first nor the last one. There have been people that had been declared deceased only to wake up from the cold table in the morgue or in their own coffins.
There is the case of a 49-year-old Russian woman, Fagilyu Mukhametzyanov who died and woke up at her own funeral only to suffer a fatal attack for on the shock of waking up in a coffin at her own funeral. There is also the case of a 2-year-old Brazilian boy who suddenly sat up in his coffin and asked his dad for water, took a drink and laid back down, dead once more.
In another case, a 78-year-old man came back to life on the embalming table—and then went home to happily live out another week of his life.
There have been debates over how this could happen. How dead can a dead person be in order to be legitimately declared as dead and with no likelihood of the Lazarus effect happening?
Some people in the medical community believe that death should not be treated as a single event but a process that involves the ceasing of different mechanisms. Apparently, having no pulse or breath does not immediately mean tissue and cells have also died.
When the heart stops the tissue that makes up the heart gets deprived of oxygen and is subjected to a buildup of toxins that will gradually kill cells.
It is only when all the cells have died that the body can technically be described as utterly lifeless.
However, tissue and cell degradation can be stunted by a reduction in temperature. At lower temperatures, cells can go into a sort of hibernation. This explains why people drowning in icy water can have a faint heartbeat that’s barely discernible that’s because the body tries to conserve life as hard as possible.
The medical community has always found cases like these confounding and they have searched for and come up with plausible scientific reasoning but science comes short in other cases.