Dead man comes back to life in hospital

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Dead man comes back to life in hospital


Many questions have arisen in recent days over the miraculous story of a 64-year-old man who was pronounced dead after attempts to resuscitate him failed, only for his heart to start beating again right before his body was placed in the freezer at a hospital morgue.

The man, identified by his surname, Byeon, was found unconscious in the bathroom at his house on Nov. 18.

He was taken in an ambulance to a university hospital in Busan but appeared to have passed away before arriving at 1:45 p.m.

Despite repeated attempts at resuscitation, his heart stopped for more than 15 minutes and he was declared dead on arrival at the hospital by the staff.

While being taken to the mortuary, however, medical workers saw that he was breathing. As of Sunday, he has recovered consciousness and is in stable condition.

The hospital has no answer as to how the man came back to life so long after his heart failed.

Cases of patients returning from the dead after being officially declared deceased by doctors is referred to by medical experts as the Lazarus syndrome. The phenomenon is named after the man in the New Testament who was resurrected by Jesus.

According to Britain’s Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, a total of 38 Lazarus syndrome cases were reported over a 25-year period between 1982 and 2007. The latest case was from Poland and describes a 91-year-old woman who woke up after spending 11 hours in a mortuary.

The publication states that medical staff should observe the body for at least 10 extra minutes after attempting CPR to ensure that declarations of death are accurate.

Local police are now investigating for possible medical malpractice.

Prof. Kyung Kyu-hyeok of the University of Ulsan College of Medicine said it would be difficult for the police to charge the hospital for negligence of duty because it had taken all the necessary steps, such as examining his pupils for reflexes and checking his heart with an electrocardiogram, before pronouncing him dead.

“It is common practice for doctors to stop their CPR 30 minutes after heart failure because even if the heart beats again, significant damage to the brain has already been inflicted,” the professor said.


BY KIM HYE-MI [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]

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