Man Declared Dead, Found Alive in Mortuary Freezer 7 Hours Later

  • Is this a situation where you should be relieved or horrified?

Some facts of life should be self-evident. For example, dead people don’t come waltzing out of a mortuary outside of religious texts or horror movies.

Recently, though, one Indian man managed to flaunt the laws of nature. He died only so that hospital staff could pull him out of the mortuary freezer seven hours later.


Sreekesh Kumar, 40, is an electrician from Moradabad in northern India. On November 18, he was involved in a serious traffic accident when a speeding motorcycle plowed him down.

Although first responders rushed him to a nearby district hospital, the doctors declared there was nothing they could do. That same night, they pronounced Kumar had died from his injuries, reported The Times of India.

As per standard procedure, the hospital staff wrapped his body up and wheeled him into a freezer. He was only supposed to come out of there the next day for a post-mortem examination.

Imagine waking up in one of these things.

‘He’s Breathing’

Seven hours later, Kumar’s relatives arrived at the hospital to identify his supposed corpse and authorize his autopsy. Among them was his sister-in-law Madhubala Gautam.

“Police wanted four family members for [signing the paperwork] and I decided to enter the mortuary. I touched his cheeks and called him ‘brother-in-law,’” she recalled.

However, Gautam noticed something strange. Kumar was warm and moving, and as far as she knew, dead people aren’t supposed to do that.

“To my happiness and horror, [his cheeks were] warm. He was breathing,” said Gautam.

The moment Gautam noticed that Kumar was still alive was caught on a video that has since been posted on social media. Just a heads up, if you don’t want to see the severely injured man, don’t click on that link.

“He’s not dead at all, in fact far from it. How did this happen?” Gautam exclaims on the video in her native language. “Look, he wants to say something. He is breathing.”

The family members called the police and doctors to come take a look at the man. Sure enough, he wasn’t anywhere near as dead as the doctors had thought.

The medical staff immediately pulled Kumar out of the freezer. He was transported to a health center in the nearby city of Meerut.

According to Vice, his condition has improved but he isn’t in the clear yet. He is on a ventilator and there could be blood clotting in his brain.

“He is yet to gain consciousness but doctors have assured us that he is out of danger,” Gautam said.

Saved by His Enemy

On the day Kumar supposedly died, the coolers in the hospital’s mortuary had been malfunctioning. According to an anonymous doctor at the hospital, that may experience Kumar’s miraculous recovery.

“As per the guidelines, a body is supposed to be kept in the freezer in order to save it from decaying. The ideal temperature should be below 50 degrees Fahrenheit,” the doctor told The Times of India.

“However, there was an issue of power and the freezer switched on and off. It probably saved the man’s life,” he added.

The electrician’s life was spared thanks to an electrical fault. There’s a certain irony there.

‘Rarest of Rare Cases’

Dr. Shiv Singh, the chief medical superintendent of Morarabad, called Kumar’s resurrection the “rarest of rare cases.” According to him, the doctors didn’t make a mistake in pronouncing Kumar dead.

Singh said that an emergency medical officer had examined him multiple times and hadn’t detected a single heartbeat. As such, according to common medical knowledge, he had indeed ceased to live.

However, Singh admits that pronouncing a person dead isn’t as straightforward as you’d think.

“Sometimes there are difficulties faced while declaring someone dead. For example, there is ‘suspended animation’ where there is temporary cessation of many vital organs without death,” he explained.

“It can lead to extraordinary situations. We can’t call it negligence [on the part of doctors] until we have all the reports in our hand,” he added. According to Singh, the hospital has launched a probe into the incident.

Kumar’s family, however, isn’t buying the explanation. Gautam said that the family will take legal action against the hospital.

“We will lodge a complaint against them for negligence as they almost killed Sreekesh despite him being alive,” she said.

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