Medics baffled as 'dead' man found breathing

Medics have been left baffled after a hospital patient pronounced dead on Easter Sunday was dramatically later found to be alive.

Doctors and cardiac nurses in an intensive care ward in the Mater Hospital, Dublin, fought for half an hour to resuscitate him after he suffered a heart attack.

Even though he was then declared dead, as hospital morticians prepared to take him to the morgue he was found to be breathing and very much alive.

The man’s family had already been told and were coming to terms with their grief.

The unmarried man, who has not been named, was being treated in the Mater for a separate condition when he suffered a cardiac arrest.

It is understood he has a mild mental handicap and a spokesman for the Mater confirmed management at the hospital have launched an in-depth investigation.

“The incident happened, a serious incident, and it is being investigated by the hospital,” he said.

“It’s an internal investigation led by people at the very senior end and naturally there will be clinical people leading it and senior management are also across the whole issue.”

It is understood the man has a history of heart problems and has been treated in the Mater on several occasions. Nurses on the hospital’s cardiac wards who have cared for him were said to be stunned and in total disbelief.

He is said to be in good spirits now.

While being treated in the Mater on Easter Sunday the man went into cardiac arrest. He was rushed to the intensive care unit where staff worked with him for around 30 minutes but despite efforts to resuscitate him he showed no response and there were no vital signs.

A short while later his family was informed.

Orderlies were asked to prepare the man and curtains were pulled around the bed in the ward where he was being kept.

Staff from the morgue were also contacted and asked to prepare to take him out of the ward but one of them spotted that he was breathing and alerted nurses.

It is understood the investigation will examine what steps were taken to save the man, whether all necessary tests such as checks for vital signs were carried out and when he was declared dead.

It will also look into when the man was found to be alive and who made the dramatic discovery.

The Mater is one of Ireland’s largest hospitals providing care for the last 150 years.

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