At the end of March, a garbage collector, declared dead, came back to life. Although his heart started to beat again, the Ile-de-France resident remained in a deep coma. This week, the patient finally passed away.
- This medical phenomenon is named after Lazarus, in reference to the biblical character Lazarus of Bethany who emerged alive from his tomb four days after his death.
- In 2014, a study reported 49 cases of Lazarus phenomenon and in 2018 ten more cases were recorded.
On April 11, the 66-year-old Sepur company employee, who had come back to life, died. The man in charge of collecting waste had suffered a heart attack before starting his service in Neuilly-sur-Marne, in Seine-Saint-Denis on March 29. His colleagues gave him cardiac massage before help arrived. The Samu team then took charge of the garbage collector and gave him “a prolonged cardiopulmonary resuscitation of more than 50 minutes”explained to theAFPProfessor Frédéric Adnet, head of the Samu of Seine-Saint-Denis.
Despite the intervention of the emergency services, all the vital constants of the Francilien were stopped. Thus, the patient was declared dead. The Samu teams placed his body in a body bag. Half an hour later, the police were surprised to see that the sexagenarian had started to move. Rescuers returned to the scene and found that the garbage man’s heart had started beating again. They immediately transported the municipal employee to Montfermeil hospital. Since he gave signs of life, the man had been in a deep coma.
A rare medical phenomenon
This surprising resurrection is known to health professionals as the “Lazarus phenomenon”. The latter results in a restart of the patient’s heart, after all of its constants had stopped. The first cases of the Lazarus phenomenon were reported in January and May 1982 by a team from Helsinki in Finland and internists from the Dreux hospital center.
According to Frédéric Adnet, interviewed by The Parisian on April 6, doctors believe that “It’s a problem of thoracic relaxation. Until then the heart is stuck between the two lungs and we don’t really know how it restarts”. According to the head of the Samu of Seine-Saint-Denis, among the reported cases, no patient who presented the Lazarus phenomenon survived.
This week, the garbage collector also succumbed to heart failure, the coma in which he was plunged and the Lazarus phenomenon. “He died, like almost all patients in an anoxic coma”said, at theAFPFrederic Adnet.