Back from the brink

In a scenario better suited to the latest Zombie blockbuster, the grieving family of Valdelucio Goncalves in Salvador, Brazil, visited the morgue at the Menandro de Farias General Hospital to prepare their recently deceased brother and uncle for his funeral. One can only imagine the horror as the attendant showed them to the zipped-up body bag containing his corpse, which they found to be wriggling.

Mr Goncalves had been declared dead by doctors at 11pm the night before. His family were informed and the following morning they proceeded to put a funeral notice in the local press and arranged for a coffin and his burial that afternoon. According to local media, the doctors who had treated Mr Goncalves, 54, reported he had suffered “respiratory and multiple organ failure.” His body was taken to the hospital’s morgue.

In the morning Mr Goncalves’s brother, Walterio, was allowed into the morgue to dress the body ready for the funeral later in the day.

But as he approached the body bag, it began to move.

He told Brazil’s G1 website: “We had already made all the arrangements for my brother’s funeral. All I needed to do was put some new clothes on him, so he’d be ready for the undertaker to come and collect him. Workers at the morgue let me in, and showed me where he was lying, in a zipped-up body bag.”

As he approached the body bag, Walterio could see something was not quite right.

“As I got closer, I could see it wriggling. Then he saw it raising and falling as if it was breathing. I went crazy and shouted for the medical team, the nurse, so they could see what was happening. They checked him and confirmed that he was still alive.”

Mr Goncalves was rushed to the Intensive Care Unit of the same hospital which had wrongly declared him dead. At the family’s insistence he was transferred to another hospital, Santo Antonio in Salvador.

Mr Goncalves, who cannot speak, wrote a letter claiming he had been brought back from the dead by Blessed Irma Dulce, a Franciscan Sister who is revered as a saint with miraculous powers in Brazil.

He wrote: “I, Valdelucio, saw death at my feet, but my faith was so great that I was cured.

“Before Irma Dulce, I said: ‘Do a miracle in me,’ and she heard my prayer. I saw my mother telling me: ‘Son, hold onto her and you will be saved’.”

Hospital authorities are conducting an internal investigation into the matter.

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