Man wakes up in morgue a day after he's pronounced dead

Roz Zurko's picture

Anyone's worst nightmare scenario occurred in real life as a man wakes up in the refrigerated unit in a morgue, as he was thought to be dead.

The story of a man who wakes up in a morgue along side other corpses, sounds like something out of a Stephen King novel, but in this case it was real life. The man, who was deemed dead by morgue staff, woke up and was screaming for someone to let him out of the very cold refrigerator unit in this morgue. He woke up after being in there for almost an entire day.

The 60 year-old South African man wished not to be identified, but his story starts when he passed out after suffering an asthma attack last weekend. His family called a private mortuary instead of paramedics, after they believed the man to be dead. He was transported to this privately owned morgue and spent 21 hours in the refrigerated unit which was made for corpses.

When the man finally woke up, he was surrounded by corpses and started to scream. He said he screamed because of the freezing temperatures. Instead of investigating the screams, two workers in the morgue ran out of the building as soon as the screams started. They thought it was a ghost.

The two attendants got the entire mortuary team and returned to investigate, this is when they opened up the refrigerator. Inside they found a very cold shivering man, who was confused as to where he was and why he was there. This time an ambulance was called and the man was rushed to the hospital.

The doctors warmed him up and put him under observation after this bizarre ordeal. Six hours passed and the man was found to be fine, he was medically cleared and discharged home. He will see a doctor at the hospital for a check-up this week.

The refrigerator is kept at very low temperatures for the obvious reason of arresting the decomposition of the bodies inside. This temperature would be very uncomfortable and feel like freezing weather for a live person.

According to ABC, as entertaining as this story may be, it opens up a serious topic. The government of South Africa is taking this case public and using it as a type of warning for the public. They consider this a very serious issue and are urging the public to always have medical personal be the ones to pronounce someone dead. Only trained health officials should declare people dead.

As the family and the mortuary staff believed the man to be deceased, he wasn’t. The mortuary staff did check, but found no heartbeat, but it was there, it was just faint and trained medical personal would have picked this up.

Sizwe Kupelo, spokesman for the Eastern Cape Health Department said, "This is why we're saying as a health department that people should call health services to have their relatives declared and certified dead and not these private mortuaries," he said. "Those guys are aren't trained paramedics. They're about business."

The man's grandson tried to defend the family's action on Facebook, Kupelo tells ABC. Unfortunately, this is not the end of this event for the man as the villagers will probably believe that a ghost is among them, Kupelo said. He also said "There will probably be family members that will refuse to stay the night with him now."

This has to be anybody's worst nightmare, waking up in a place meant for the dead. It is just lucky that the man woke up in time. It is not known what the next step in the burial process was going to be. Whether embalming, cremation, or burial, this would have been a point of no return for the man.

There are, of course, countries where embalming is not that popular, including those in Eastern Europe. In an earlier story, a Russian woman woke up at her own funeral. In her case, the ending was far worse: she had a heart attack and died later.


Submitted by Christian 2011 (not verified) on
When is the world going to get it. Jesus can and does raise people from the dead for His purpose. Think about it, the guy's heartbeat is so faint that morgue workers miss it and errantly think he is dead (they know what dead people are) and then they put him in a frig for 21 hours. Come on people, wake up (pun intended), the purpose of the frig is to quickly take the heat of the body. In a very short time, a live, healthy person would be dead in that cooler, let alone one with no detectable heart beat. Sure there a examples of hypothermia where the body can shut down and cool way down for a time and then be heated up by doctors and survive, but not by itself in the morgue refrigerator and not after 21 hours. If this guy was not dead when they put him in the cooler, he soon would have been. Only Jesus could have awoken him the next day. Believe in Jesus and lean not on your own understanding.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
...but why didn't jesus raise the other dead people in the morgue?? were they not worthy?

Submitted by resurrection (not verified) on
It is God's will that all be saved, but all are not. It is not ours to know all (that tree of the knowledge of good evil). Lean not on your own understanding. When man requires an answer for every question, we create a doctrine and shrink God to our size. Why didn't Jesus raise other people from the dead in the morgue? Why didn't he raise other people beside Lasarus? Ask Jesus yourself, I do not know.

Submitted by resurrection (not verified) on
Jesus and believers are raising the dead. As for our worth, none of us are worthy of life, neither this short one in time or the eternal life in Jesus coming soon (for some). You need to think from eternity man, from heaven to earth. When you are dead and in heaven (I am assuming you want to be with Jesus in eternity) would you want to come back to this corrupt and dark world? Why?

Submitted by resurrection (not verified) on
Why do you think saved Christians are kept on the Earth in the first place? To grow in faith while evangelizing our yet unsaved brothers and to defeat darkness. Sure God could do both of these by Himself. He has chosen to co-labor with us, so get to work. Seek His presence, hear His voice and obey.

Add new comment