‘Dead’ man wakes up on autopsy table
A prisoner in Spain has woken up in alarming fashion in a body bag in a hospital mortuary after being declared dead by three doctors.
Gonzalo Montoya Jiménez woke up with marks across his body in preparation for autopsy on Sunday after spending a short time in a cold room.
"They had already marked the body to open it with the scalpel," relatives told Il Mattino.
According to local media, he woke just hours before the post-mortem examination was due to be undertaken. Scientists are calling it "an exceptional case of apparent death".
Authorities told Mr Jiménez's family that the 29-year-old was believed to have died in his cell at around 8am after he failed to show for the prison's morning count. He was placed in the most dangerous section of the prison population.
He was found slumped in a chair after complaining of feeling ill the day before. Officials said he was cyanotic - the purplish discolouration in skin that appears after death. He also appeared to suffering rigor mortis.
There were no visible signs of foul play and a pulse couldn't be found. Despite signs to revive him, he was declared dead.
He was placed in a body bag where he was "resurrected" on the autopsy table after doctors saw the "corpse move" and heard him "snoring" and "wheezing" at around noon.
"Forensic doctors began to hear noises coming from inside the bag. Montoya was not dead. Quite the opposite," reported El Espanol.
"The forensic [pathologist] proceeded to open the bag and found the inmate still alive."
He had "the marks painted on the body to open it", a relative told La Voz.
The first words he muttered were about his wife, and asked if he could see her.
The family is furious with prison officials, and are "convinced" just one prison doctor examined his body while the two others simply signed the death certificate. It takes three experts to certify a prisoner dead.
Experts suspect an catalepsy "may be related to this unusual case". Catalepsy is a condition where a person can be mistaken for dead because their vital signs are slowed to a point where it is almost imperceptible.
The inmate was discovered at a jail in the Asturias region, northwest Spain, and rushed to Oviedo hospital where he is in intensive care.
"Two prison doctors concluded he had clinical signs of death following a morning roll call and informed police, his next-of-kin and a local duty court as part of standard procedure," a spokesman for the Spanish Prison Service said.
"The court sent a forensic doctor who was the one who actually confirmed his death.
"I can't comment on what happened at the Institute of Legal Medicine but three doctors have seen clinical signs of death so it's still not clear at the moment exactly why this occurred."
An investigation is under way.