What are some cases (if any) of people coming back from the dead?

In summary: Yes, that's one of the types I am talking about. A slightly different case that I am also interested in is where someone's heart stopped and then started......breathing again on their own. Unlike the first scenario, where CPR was the only thing that saved them, in this case CPR was not necessary.
  • #1
murshid_islam
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TL;DR Summary
Looking for cases where patients were pronounced dead and then came back to life.
I am looking for cases (if any) where patients were pronounced dead by doctors and then came back to life. Are there any such cases? I am not looking for cases of near-death experiences. I'm also not looking for cases where patients were mistakenly declared dead when they were still alive.
 
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  • #2
You can probably find some interesting cases if you look for things like "rescued from glacier" and such like. It is a fairly well known thing that people can be cold enough that their heart and breathing stops, possibly for amazing periods like many minutes or even an hour. But, because they are cold, tissue damage is reduced. The rather macabre expression is "You are not dead until you are warm and dead."
 
  • #3
murshid_islam said:
TL;DR Summary: Looking for cases where patients were pronounced dead and then came back to life.

I am looking for cases (if any) where patients were pronounced dead by doctors and then came back to life. Are there any such cases? I am not looking for cases of near-death experiences.
It seems like an easy thing to search for on Google, although you'll need to filter the results with some skepticism. What have you found in your searching so far?
 
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  • #4
berkeman said:
It seems like an easy thing to search for on Google, although you'll need to filter the results with some skepticism. What have you found in your searching so far?
Google didn't help much. The results were about near-death experiences, and from sources like buzzfeed, boredpanda etc. Any ideas on how to narrow down the search?

Edit: Just found out about Lazarus Syndrome.
 
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  • #5
murshid_islam said:
Google didn't help much. The results were about near-death experiences, and from sources like buzzfeed, boredpanda etc. Any ideas on how to narrow down the search?

Edit: Just found out about Lazarus Syndrome.
I had a quick look in the BMJ, one case of a brain dead patient suddenly started breathing on her own.
Lots of anecdotal.
 
  • #6
murshid_islam said:
I am looking for cases (if any) where patients were pronounced dead by doctors and then came back to life.

Well, I guess in order to get some information from the previously-declared-dead person, they would need to have enough of their faculties present after they came back in order to hold a conversation. Seems unlikely to me...
 
  • #7
murshid_islam said:
I am looking for cases (if any) where patients were pronounced dead by doctors and then came back to life. Are there any such cases? ....I'm also not looking for cases where patients were mistakenly declared dead when they were still alive.
Those are the same thing.
 
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  • #8
russ_watters said:
Those are the same thing.
what he said (very small).jpg
 
  • #9
pinball1970 said:
I had a quick look in the BMJ, one case of a brain dead patient suddenly started breathing on her own.
Lots of anecdotal.
Can you share some more details about that case?
 
  • #10
murshid_islam said:
Can you share some more details about that case?
I just found it in seconds, you have the key words. BMJ, pronounced dead, started breathing.
Just do a search in Google
 
  • #11
russ_watters said:
Those are the same thing.
I think I know the distinction. Yes near death and dead then not being dead are both not being dead.
I am assuming he means the case where someone has a heart attack, heart stopped, then brought back via CPR or defibrillator.
As opposed to prounced dead, then spontaneously coming back. Start breathing again unaided.
The first scenario fairly common and the second very rare.
 
  • #12
pinball1970 said:
I think I know the distinction. Yes near death and dead then not being dead are both not being dead.
I am assuming he means the case where someone has a heart attack, heart stopped, then brought back via CPR or defibrillator.
As opposed to prounced dead, then spontaneously coming back. Start breathing again unaided.
The first scenario fairly common and the second very rare.
You're more generous than I: the OP says nothing about medical intervention or lack thereof.

Also, the second scenario would be hard to distinguish from a third where the medical professional mistakenly declares death.

But I think the OP was asking about the fourth scenario...
 
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  • #13
russ_watters said:
You're more generous than I: the OP says nothing about medical intervention or lack thereof.

Also, the second scenario would be hard to distinguish from a third where the medical professional mistakenly declares death.

But I think the OP was asking about the fourth scenario...
Mm... I will ask.
 
  • #14
murshid_islam said:
Can you share some more details about that case?
What scenario are you thinking of?
If an individual is actually dead then they stay dead.
If an individual is "mistakenly" pronounced dead then they are not dead.
If an individual is dead regarding heart stopped/ stopped breathing and is revived via medical intervention then they are also not dead.
 
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  • #15
pinball1970 said:
I am assuming he means the case where someone has a heart attack, heart stopped, then brought back via CPR or defibrillator.
Yes, that's one of the types I am talking about. A slightly different case that I am also interested in is where someone's heart stopped and then started again spontaneously without medical intervention.

pinball1970 said:
If an individual is dead regarding heart stopped/ stopped breathing and is revived via medical intervention then they are also not dead.
This is the one I am interested in. Before the revival, the individual is dead. They just didn't remain dead.
 
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  • #17
I have a friend who is preparing for a heart operation.
He wants a do not resuscitate condition for himself, but the doctors are saying you need an exception for when they stop his heart to do the operation and also during recovery when relatively trivial things can happen.

This is a common thing and points out why not all lack of heartbeat conditions would be considered dead.
Live versus dead is not always an easy call.
The safest definition is probably someone who is dead and doesn't come back to life.
This makes it not an instant decision.
 
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  • #20
pinball1970 said:
That is the one yes.
Looks like the full text of the article is behind a paywall? Did the baby survive?
 
  • #21
berkeman said:
Looks like the full text of the article is behind a paywall? Did the baby survive?
I'll have a check today, there could be press releases.
 
  • #22
berkeman said:
Looks like the full text of the article is behind a paywall? Did the baby survive?
The most recent news articles I could find are from September 2022, and it appears that the baby was still on life support at that time.

Here are some links:
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/...-guys-st-thomas-hospital-london-b1021291.html
https://www.mylondon.news/news/zone-1-news/new-trial-after-unfair-hearing-25104832
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ar...eclared-dead-win-High-Court-appeal-fight.html
 
  • #23
berkeman said:
Looks like the full text of the article is behind a paywall? Did the baby survive?
I found this too, a link to sky report in there.

https://www.lifefunder.com/SaveBabyA

EDIT;
Possibly still not think this is what the OP is looking for.

This is a baby that became ill, taken to hospital and deteriorated to the point the Drs performed tests to assess brain function.
Conclusion was brain death and stop life support but this turned out to be wrong, either something went wrong with the test or the test was not adequate in this case.
The baby still needs life support and has been on it since becoming ill so technically has never been dead.
If the Drs do their job properly then a person stays dead by definition, they are not coming back.
This is not a criticism, this depends on when and where they are in the world and
what tech they have available at the time.
This link is interesting because it appears Taphophobia was a thing not without merit.

https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2016/01/06/im-not-dead-yet/
 
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  • #24
BillTre said:
This is a common thing and points out why not all lack of heartbeat conditions would be considered dead.
And...(my understanding), why heartbeat now isn't the sole or even primary criteria for judging, brain function is.

We've learned a lot over the last few decades, but the threshold remains both hard to identify and inexact for some cases. That creates risk of error/misunderstanding in the judgement.
 
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  • #25
russ_watters said:
And...(my understanding), why heartbeat now isn't the sole or even primary criteria for judging, brain function is.
Has there been any case where the brain function stopped and the patient later came back to life?
 
  • #26
murshid_islam said:
Has there been any case where the brain function stopped and the patient later came back to life?
Just the case with the baby we cited with any sort of detail.
You would have to know a lot more about the actual tests they perform on the brain/brain stem in these cases I think.
To get an idea.
Something like the process to assess brain injury?
https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg176
 
  • #27
murshid_islam said:
Has there been any case where the brain function stopped and the patient later came back to life?
No, but "stopped" isn't the threshold, unless I'm not splitting a hair correctly. This isn't my field, but I think the physical function of the body is controlled by the brain stem and often remains active after other parts of the brain are not.

And again, it's mostly an issue of measurement/error.
 
  • #28
Somehow the Miracle Max scene in The Princess Bride sticks in my mind.

This question seems too wooly to answer. Has someone been pronounced dead, not by mistake, but "most sincerely dead" and then come back? Isn't that the definition of a mistake?
 
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  • #29
Vanadium 50 said:
Somehow the Miracle Max scene in The Princess Bride sticks in my mind.

This question seems too wooly to answer. Has someone been pronounced dead, not by mistake, but "most sincerely dead" and then come back? Isn't that the definition of a mistake?
Right, that's the problem: he wasn't really dead, he was only mostly dead. They just didn't have an EEG handy to confirm.
 
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  • #30
I think there is an issue in how death is defined, the linked article discusses some issues. Usually, death is defined as irreversible and is linked to the functioning of the whole organism rather than single physiological functioning, lots of cells in the body continue to function for some time after death. I think the idea of someone returning from being dead is really based on the fear of doctors making a mistake.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5570697/
 
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  • #31
I just found this article online today in Science:
Its probably not available to everyone, but I can't tell.

Its a long article that describes recent developments in human transplantation techniques and their impact on making living vs. non-living distinctions.

Of course with transplants you want living organs or tissues from dead people, which is kind of contradictory if using simple interpretations.

In individuals declared brain dead, organs can be recovered before life support is disconnected, as these people have already died; such machinery keeps organs oxygenated and healthy prior to transplant. But for this man the donation process would be altered: Life support had to be withdrawn for death to occur. His heart stopped, and his circulation with it.As is customary regardless of whether organs will be donated, physicians waited 5 minutes to ensure that the heart didn’t start beating again on its own. It did not, and the man was declared dead. The baton then passed to the organ recovery and transplant team. They clamped blood vessels running from the torso to the brain and reconnected his body to machines that circulated oxygenated blood, causing the heart to begin pumping again.These two interventions—initiating a heartbeat after death is declared and taking steps to prevent blood flow to the brain—are at the core of a raging debate about the ethics of such donations. To some people, the approach risks disrupting the dying process; to others, it allows that process to continue as the family desires, while also honoring individual or family wishes for organ donation.The debate touches on the definition of death, Moazami says. “When the heart stops, we say, ‘time of death, 5:20 a.m.’” But, “The fact of the matter is, death is a process. Death is not a time point.” Cells can take hours to die. Sophisticated machinery can induce a heartbeat hours after death, but does that make a person “alive”?

Screenshot 2023-05-12 at 10.41.46 AM.png


These kinds of approaches were not that uncommon when I was recovering corneas from dead people for an Oregon eye bank.
 
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  • #32
It sounds like you're asking if a miracle (by definition) has ever occurred here, OP.

Is that correct?
 

Related to What are some cases (if any) of people coming back from the dead?

What are some documented cases of people being declared dead and then coming back to life?

One of the most famous cases is that of Anna Bågenholm, a Swedish radiologist who survived after being trapped under ice in freezing water for 80 minutes. Another case is that of Tony Yahle, an Ohio man who was declared dead for 45 minutes before his heart spontaneously started beating again. These cases often involve extreme conditions or medical errors.

How do medical professionals explain cases where people come back to life after being declared dead?

Medical professionals often attribute these cases to misdiagnosis, the body's resilience, or rare physiological conditions. For instance, in cases of hypothermia, the body's metabolic processes slow down significantly, which can sometimes make it appear as though a person is dead when they are not.

Are there any scientific explanations for near-death experiences where people report coming back from the dead?

Near-death experiences (NDEs) are often explained by neurobiological processes. Lack of oxygen to the brain, endorphin release, and other physiological responses can create vivid experiences that people interpret as coming back from the dead. However, these experiences are subjective and not indicative of actual death and revival.

Can modern medical technology increase the chances of reviving someone who has been declared dead?

Yes, advancements in medical technology such as CPR, defibrillators, and advanced life support techniques have significantly increased the chances of reviving someone who has been declared clinically dead. Therapeutic hypothermia is another technique that can improve outcomes by slowing down the body's metabolic processes.

Are there any cultural or religious beliefs that support the idea of people coming back from the dead?

Many cultures and religions have beliefs and stories about resurrection or coming back from the dead. Christianity, for example, has the resurrection of Jesus Christ as a central tenet. Other religions and cultures have their own myths and legends about individuals returning from the dead, often symbolizing hope, renewal, or divine intervention.

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