Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bring back the safety coffin!

As of today I was not aware of the Lazarus Syndrome. But once you hear this story, I bet you will not forget it either. I stumbled across the following report on the FOX News Health page:,2933,586302,00.html

It describes a female patient in Colombia who was declared legally dead after medical equipment failed to detect her heart rate or blood pressure. She was then sent to a funeral home to be prepared for burial. As the morticians were about to apply the embalming fluid to the body, "the patient began to breathe again and make movements." Apparently, she was not dead!

The Lazarus Syndrome is a phenomenon in which a patient can not be resuscitated, but unexpectedly has a miraculous restoration of circulation. This syndrome is extremely rare. Since 1982, there have been only 25 documented cases of Lazarus Syndrome.

Fear of being buried alive was rampant during the 18-19th centuries. As a result, some were interested in being buried in a safety coffin. Basically, the idea was to incorporate a way for an interred person to signal to the outside world in the event that he came back to life after being buried. One version of the safety coffin was to have a string or rope in the coffin that would connect to a bell above ground.

In reality, I don't think we have to worry about being incorrectly declared dead or buried alive. So, I don't envision that safety coffins will fly off the shelves anytime soon. But, I must say, it makes one wonder when one is truly dead, especially if you're like me and you are a registered organ donor.

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