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08th Nov 2022

Woman baffles doctors after being dead for 17 hours and then coming back to life

Charlie Herbert

Woman baffles doctors after being dead for 17 hours and then coming back to life

‘Her skin had already started hardening’

This is the incredible story of how a woman left doctors stunned by coming back to life after being clinically dead for more than 17 hours.

In 2008, Velma Thomas had a heart attack at her home in Virginia and was rushed to hospital.

While she was there she had a further two heart attacks and was placed on life support.

Doctors tried everything to save Thomas’ life, even inducing hypothermia in an attempt to lower her body temperature and stimulate the brain.

But in total, her heart stopped on three occasions and had been clinically dead, with no brain activity, for 17 hours.

So, doctors decided to remove her life support and prepared to take her organs for donations.

Heart specialist Kevin Eggleston said at the time: “There were really no signs she had neurological functions.”

Her son Tim said: “We just prayed and prayed and prayed. And I came to the conclusion she wasn’t going to make it.

“I was given confirmation from God to take her off the ventilator and my pastor said the same thing. I felt a sense of peace that I made the right decision. Her skin had already started hardening, her hands and toes were curling up. There was no life there.”

After he left the hospital though, he received a phone call from medics saying his mum was showing signs of life.

Just 10 minutes after being taken off life support, Velma miraculously woke up while nurses were removing the tubing.

By the time Tima had rushed back to hospital, she was awake and asking for her son.

Dr Eggleston said the incident was nothing short of a “miracle.”

He told ABC News: “There are things that physicians and nurses we can’t always explain. And I think this is one of those cases.”

The incredibly rare occurrence is known as Lazarus syndrome or, to give it its less technical name, autoresuscitation after failed cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

This is where the heart spontaneously starts beating again at a normal rate following failed attempts at resuscitation.

Velma’s 17 hour is thought to be the world record for the longest time dead before coming back to life.

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