Kumar was reportedly badly injured in a traffic accident in the city, about 100 miles east of the capital city New Delhi, and was transported to a “private medical facility” where doctors declared him dead on arrival.
He was sent to the morgue at a government hospital, but when family members arrived to identify him, the 45-year-old was miraculously breathing.
Reports: Srikesh Kumar Woke Up in the Morgue
According to foreign reports, Srikesh Kumar was struck by a motorcycle Thursday night and arrived at a local clinic in critical condition. Doctors there determined that the 45-year-old had died, and sent his “body” to a nearby hospital for storage in the morgue.
“The emergency medical officer had seen the patient at 3 a.m and there was no heartbeat,” said Dr. Shiv Singh. “He had examined the man multiple times.”
“The emergency medical officer examined him. He did not find any signs of life and hence declared him dead,” agreed hospital superintendent Rajendra Kumar on Sunday.
For six hours, Kumar was locked in the morgue. But when his family arrived at the hospital to sign paperwork ahead of the autopsy, they found the 45-year-old breathing and moving — despite having “died” earlier that night.
In a cellphone video from the morgue which has since gone viral, Kumar’s sister-in-law Madhu Bala noticed he was still alive, to the shock of the medical personnel nearby.
“He’s not at all dead. How did this happen?” she said, according to The Sun. Look, he wants to say something, he is breathing.”
The hospital superintendent said Kumar’s recovery was “nothing short of a miracle” — but his family is demanding accountability and answers from the medical personnel who declared their loved one dead.
Family Demands Answers, Doctors Continue Treatment
Though happy to find that Kumar hadn’t died, the 45-year-old’s family said they plan to find out how trained doctors and medical examiners made such a critical error.
“We will lodge a complaint against the doctors for negligence,” his sister-in-law Madhu Bala said, according to one report.
While Kumar survived the accident, being declared dead might have actually killed him, had he not been removed from the mortuary refrigerator to be identified by his family. According to one source, bodies stored in morgues are kept at temperatures from 14 to 36 degrees Fahrenheit, and occasionally as low as 58 degrees below zero.
“They almost killed Srikesh by putting him in a freezer,” Bala said.
An internal investigation may follow, but for now, hospital administrators said the focus has shifted to saving Kumar’s life. The 45-year-old is still said to be comatose, and while the now-viral video shows him obviously alive, he does not appear conscious.
Dr. Singh called Kumar’s return to life one of those “rarest of rare cases.”
“We can’t call it negligence,” he reportedly said. “A probe has been ordered. Our priority is now to save his life.”
Not an Isolated Incident
In a strikingly similar case from March, a 27-year-old Indian man was declared dead by doctors at a hospital after he was admitted following a motorcycle accident. Medical examiners were reportedly only moments away from cutting up the man’s chest to perform an autopsy, when he began to move.
In that instance, hospital administrators said medical personnel showed “bad judgement” and “missed” the man’s heartbeat when they erroneously declared him dead.