Incredible story of woman who came back to life after being dead for 17 hours
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: ABC
A woman once baffled doctors when she came back to life after being dead for more than 17 hours.
Velma Thomas had a heart attack at her home in Virginia in 2008 and was rushed to hospital.
While there she had two more heart attacks and was placed on life support - in all, her heart stopped beating three times and she was clinically dead, with no brain activity, for 17 hours.
But ten minutes after she was taken off life support, while doctors were preparing to take her organs for donations, she woke up.
Heart specialist Kevin Eggleston said at the time: “There are things that as physicians and nurses we can't always explain. I think this is one of those cases.”
Speaking after the incident, her stunned son Tim said: “We just prayed and prayed and prayed. And I came to the conclusion she wasn't going to make it.
“I was given confirmation from God to take her off the ventilator and my pastor said the same thing. I felt a sense of peace that I made the right decision. Her skin had already started hardening, her hands and toes were curling up. There was no life there.”
He said he left the hospital but then received a phone call from medics saying she was showing signs of life.
He rushed back to the hospital and found his mum alive and alert, asking for her son.
The incident was hailed as a ‘miracle’ by Dr Egglestone.
The super rare occurrence is known as Lazarus syndrome - or autoresuscitation after failed cardiopulmonary resuscitation - and is the spontaneous return of a normal heart beat following failed attempts at resuscitation.
Thomas actually holds the world record for the longest time dead before coming back to life.
Some people who have died only to come back to life later on claim to have seen a glimpse of the afterlife.
Scott Drummond, from the US, died while undergoing a routine operation to fix his thumb, before coming back to life 20 minutes later.
He said that after his heart stopped beating he floated out of his body and was looking down at himself on the operating table.
He went on: “And I remember so vividly, I could never look back, or I was instructed never to look back again, and the next thing I knew, and it was like a twinkling of an eye, I was standing in a field where the person who was with me was right next to me, but I couldn't see them.
"I looked over to the left and there was some great big tall trees, and I remember they were the most unusual looking trees, they had a long trunk with leaves up on top, and there were lots of them.
"Then to the right of that, which would be still to the left of me, was wildflowers, beautiful wildflowers, and they were up about to my waist."
Drummond says a voice then told him it wasn’t his time and he returned to his body.