National Post Staff
Published:November 25, 2021
A 40-year-old Indian man who was critically injured by a speeding motorcycle, mistakenly declared dead and ‘returned to life’ in the mortuary freezer, has died five days later.
Srikesh Kumar was officially declared dead and was left in a morgue freezer for six hours until his family, who had already identified him and signed off on an autopsy, miraculously found he was still breathing. However, Kumar later slipped into a coma due to an internal brain bleed and died just days after miraculously rallying, reports Times of India.
Satyanand Gautam, Kumar’s brother, spoke to the outlet how his life came to a tragic end Tuesday night:
“My brother fought for his life but lost the battle after five days. He wanted to live. He showed signs of recovery as he used to respond whenever we called his name. His vitals were normal. However, he had a clot in his brain.”
Kumar, an electrician working in Morada, Uttar Pradesh, was a married man and the youngest of five brothers. Last Thursday, he was struck by a speeding motorcycle in Moradabad, east of New Delhi. He was taken to a private hospital in critical condition. Doctors declared him dead on arrival.
Dr. Shiv Singh, the chief medical superintendent of Moradabad, said, “the emergency medical officer had seen the patient at 3am and there was no heartbeat.”
The next day, the electrician was transferred to a government hospital and put in a mortuary freezer ahead of an autopsy. Six hours later, as his family was identifying his body, Kumar’s sister-in-law Madhu Bala said she saw him stir.
In a video posted on social media, a stunned Madhu Bala is heard exclaiming, “He’s not at all dead, in fact far from it. How did this happen? Look, he wants to say something, he is breathing” Times reports.
Singh said the medical officer told him “he had examined the man multiple times” and “there was no heartbeat.”
He called the cases “rarest of rares,” and an example of suspended animation, adding “we cannot call it negligence … until we have all the reports in our hands.”
An anonymous doctor told Times at the hospital that while the freezer is supposed to stay below 10C, there was a power issue with the freezer that turned it on and off.
“It probably saved the man’s life,” he said.
Police are launching an inquiry as to how Kumar could have wrongly been declared dead and placed in a freezer.
“We will take action against everyone responsible for his death,” his brother has said.