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Man 'wakes up' in the middle of his own funeral

Well, this is everyone's worst nightmare.

To be pronounced dead, be given a funeral and then buried, when it turns out that – hey! – you're still alive. We saw it in that episode of Lost where Nikki and Paulo (who did kind of deserve it) were bitten by paralysing spiders and then were accidentally buried alive. Then there's Kill Bill 2 or the film Buried, where the protagonists are both intentionally trapped inside a coffin and lowered into a put, trapped under the earth with limited air supply to try and figure a way out of their claustrophobic death trap.

alt Credit: Miramax

But does it really happen in real life? Well, yes. Almost.

A young Peruvian man was this week pronounced dead, until his family saw something to make them think otherwise at his funeral. Watson Franklin Mandujano Doroteo, who was from the Peruvian city of Tingo María, was believed to be dead after a root canal operation that went badly. The 24-year-old was experiencing fever and chills after the October 21 operation, before doctors announced that he had died.

Only, when it came to his funeral, his already distressed relatives were horrified to see what they thought was Doroteo still breathing as he lay in his coffin. Relatives said they noticed his ribcage rising and falling as he continued to breathe.

The family immediately called a doctor to the wake, who inspected the body to check vital signs. And lo-and-behold, the doctor indeed confirmed what the family saw as signs of life.

alt Credit: Los Andes

The young man was quickly removed from the coffin and rushed to hospital in order to fully revive him. However, when he was looked at by other medical practitioners at Tingo Maria Contingency Hospital, it was again confirmed that he was indeed dead. Doctors reiterated that he had passed away after his dental operation on October 21 after suffering fever and chills.

Doroteo’s relatives were upset, claiming they think he may have been alive all along since the operation. They believed he was just strongly sedated as a result of the drugs he had been given at the dental surgery. One family member was quoted as saying “They gave him diazepam”. Prosecutors in the area are now looking into the case.

While there are a few cases where bodies of the deceased have still shown muscle movement, there are far more incidents where people have been wrongly diagnosed as being dead.

Ten years ago, a 33-year-old Venezuelan man woke up during his own autopsy. Carlos Camejo was pronounced dead after a motorway accident, and said he woke up after examiners cut into his face, later telling reporters “The pain was unbearable”. He greeted his grieving wife at the morgue by waiting for her in a corridor, when she initially thought she was going there to identify his body.

alt Credit: Getty

In 2014, a 79-year-old American named Walter Williams was found literally kicking in a body bag before he was due to be embalmed. People had thought he'd died because his pacemaker had turned off.

Then in 2012, the doctor who signed a waiter's death certificate realised that the 28-year-old man was still alive despite having suffered a heart attack at work. His funeral turned into a celebration after everyone realised he wasn't, in fact, dead.

Unfortunately, the same thing didn't transpire in Doroteo’s case, and his family just endured false hope in believing the 24-year-old was still alive.