There’s no doubt we have all heard the story of the patent lying in a hospital bed in a vegetated state, about to be taken off life support, when suddenly they wake up and make a full recovery. Perhaps, an individual in a coma at a long-term care facility for decades suddenly awakening. Maybe a person pronounced dead by a physician coming back to life hours later.
However, it would be hard to forget someone pronounced dead by three physicians at three different times, who was sent to the mortuary and was hours away from being cut open, suddenly waking up after the medical examiner completed marking up the presumed “corpse” in preparation for a scheduled autopsy.
That unlikely scenario is exactly what happened to Gonzalo Montoya Jimenez, 29, who suddenly found himself waking up Sunday afternoon inside a hospital mortuary after being pronounced dead the night before.
According to Catalan based news agency Diari de Girona, Jimenez, a prisoner at Spain’s Villabona Jail, was feeling ill Saturday night shortly before he was pronounced dead.
The physician on duty checked Jimenez’s vital signs before pronouncing him dead. The next morning, another physician came on duty at the prison and, once again, checked Jimenez’s vital signs and concluded the inmate died. The judicial commission then contacted another doctor affiliated with the prison, also confirming Jimenez’s death.
Jimenez’s “corpse” was then transferred in a body bag to the Institute of Forensic Anatomical Institute of Oviedo, where an autopsy would be performed later the next day to determine the exact cause of death.
According to the report by Il Mattino, Jimenez’s “corpse” was kept in the mortuary for a short time, then moved to a table for the autopsy.
That’s when a SHOCKED medical examiner, after marking up Jimenez’s body, suddenly began hearing Jimenez snoring while on the table.
Spanish Prisoner Declared Dead By 3 Doctors, Wakes In Body Bag In Mortuary: A prisoner in Spain has been described as "exceptional" after apparently dying and coming back to life in remarkable fashion. 29-year-old Gonzalo Montoya Jiménez was in a body… https://t.co/QsgmWGpVb5 pic.twitter.com/T14Pw8Pfp5— Miles (@owencycute) January 11, 2018
Relatives of Jimenez reportedly said, “They had already marked the body to open it with the scalpel.”
After being found alive, Jimenez was transferred to Central University Hospital of Asturias.
According to Dr. James Bernat, a neurologist at Dartmouth College’s Geisel School of Medicine in New Hampshire, determining whether someone is dead or alive isn’t always that obvious. There’s no universal guideline in when a physician should pronounce someone dead. “You’re dead when a doctor says you’re dead,” Bernat said.
Doctor’s surmise that Jimenez may have suffered a temporary lack of oxygen to the brain and the fact that he was able to talk and remember things were positive signs.
According to Jimenez’s medical records, the young inmate also suffered from epilepsy and may not have taken his medication at the time he appeared dead. Relatives claim that it’s usually difficult to maintain a proper schedule within a prison environment.
The family also questions whether all three doctors actually took the time to examine Jimenez’s body, or did one merely do a quick check of the body while the other two simply signed off on the death certificate. Obviously, no one is going to admit if this was the case or not.
According to the BBC, this isn’t the first time a person has been pronounced dead when they were actually alive. In 2014, a 91-year-old woman in Poland was declared dead and spent 11 hours in a mortuary before staff discovered her body bag moving and found her alive.