Funeral Industry News

Man Pronounced Dead, Found Alive in Casket

January 27, 2010

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Man Pronounced Dead, Found Alive in Casket

imageAs the lid of his coffin was about to be sealed, Josef Guzy?s grieving widow made one last request for her late husband?s necklace.

The 76-year-old Polish beekeeper had collapsed earlier in the day and been pronounced dead at the scene by a doctor.

When the undertaker reached into the coffin for the last time, he thought that he detected a faint pulse. On closer inspection, Mr Guzy was still breathing.

The same ambulance that had been called to the pensioner?s home near the southern city of Katowice and found no sign of life now raced to the undertakers to discover that their patient was still alive.

The doctor who had issued the death certificate applied an electrocardiac monitor that recorded a pulse of 20 to 30 beats a minute ? around a third of normal strength.

Mr Guzy was rushed into intensive care, and after weeks of recovery he is back home to tend his bees.

?Josef had gone to the barn where he keeps his beloved bees when he collapsed and fell to the ground,? said Jerzy Wisniewski, a spokesman for the Regional Ambulance Service in Katowice.

?There were no signs of life when his wife called the ambulance. An experienced doctor with a specialist qualification in resuscitation found that the patient was not breathing, there was no heartbeat and the body had cooled ? all the characteristics of death.?

Darius Wysluchato, the funeral director and former miner who learnt first aid for his old job, described how he found the faint pulse and signs of breath from the corpse that he earlier placed in the coffin with an assistant.

?When we arrived, the man had been lying covered with a sheet for a few hours,? Mr Wysluchato said. ?Just before closing the coffin, the family asked us to remove a couple of precious things from the body. His son-in-law wanted his watch as a keepsake and his wife wanted a chain from his neck.

?I happened to touch the artery in the neck and was totally shocked. I checked it again and shouted, ?There is a pulse.? My assistant checked as well. I leant in close and I could tell that he was still breathing. My God, it was a miracle.?

Doctors in Katowice have described it as a case of suspended animation, the first they have known.

Mr Wysluchato added: ?Thank God I did not close the coffin. If I had done that it would have been a tragedy.

?Something touched me to touch his neck. I am so pleased that Josef is alive and I wish him luck. To come back after lying in your coffin is really a miracle.?

Mr Guzy has shown his gratitude to the man he credits with giving him a second life. ?The undertaker saved my life. I am so grateful. The first thing I did when I got out of hospital was take him a pot of honey,? he said.