Woman comes back to life after rigor mortis sets in

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120 Responses to “Woman comes back to life after rigor mortis sets in”

  1. foobar says:

    @20

    That’s rather Orwellian. Comments like yours are a bigger contributer to my decision to *never* consent to the organ harvesting ghouls than reasonable reports like this.

  2. whomever says:

    TNH/M @44 regarding mance01 @21:
    Isn’t it nifty to have people with somewhat relevant knowledge offer their opinions? You wouldn’t want people believing this is any more than the usual “local puppy rescued from drainpipe” type of story. However, the original article is pretty light on fact, so linking to interesting/dubious stories like this does provide a forum for discussing why it is suspect. Snark about zombies is always fun, but I’m glad mance01 and edselpdx took the time to contribute.

    In the AP video on youtube,
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=zbaiC9N6bGU
    poor Dr. Eggleston seems sort of agitated (~0:30). The inclusion of his quote also seems somewhat token. I doubt he wanted anything unexplainable to happen while he was around.

  3. fiatrn says:

    Re: braindeath, hypothermia and the aformentioned NFL fellow:

    Cooling the body reduces inflammation and also reduces oxygen demand of the tissues.

    In spinal injuries there are two main types of injury – the primary (the actual trauma) and secondary. Very rarely does someone actually sever their spinal cord (called cord transection): primary injuries such as fractures of the bones and flexion/extension injuries can cause a short term spinal shock from stress and neuronal disruption. Cord transection is most often caused by penetrating trauma.

    Secondary injury comes from the inflammation to the area after the primary insult. This does not occur immediately, and so the medical community tries to prevent secondary injury when the patient presents. For this reason, the most common method is the use of high dose steroids, most commonly methylprednisolone.

    There is now an emerging body of evidence that cooling in traumatic spinal cord inuries can decrease secondary injury. This follows the same principal as steroid use – if you can decrease the post-traumatic inflammation you may save neurons and decrease long term loss of function.

    The trouble with both of these methods is the lack of a good double blind study. After all, who wants to sign up for a study where we *might* give you a medicine that appears to help, or we might just do nothing for you? Not very ethical in light of the current evidence, yet it is tough to weigh the outcomes without such a study. this is because you often can’t tell the extent of injury right away, so these two methods are started quickly and often before the patient receives MRI and CT scan. My hospital’s helicopter team starts steroid use enroute to the ER to begin treatment promptly.

    Without knowing the extent of the primary injury to the NFL guy, you can’t know if hypothermia truly helped him. Again, the published research looks good so far, and it appears to be as reasonable as steroid use.

    Now for the intubated, extubated, brain dead, organ donor, 17minutes or 17 hours post arrest patient … if the writer of the story had at least a plausible story not filled with a total lack of description of the medicine followed, it would be possible to evaluate the claim.

    Unconscious does not equal brain dead, but perhaps bad reporting does.

    @poster #44: there are many ways to test for brain death – certain reflexes are no longer present (gag, corneal), certain reflexes can change their intensity (deep tendon reflexes) or outcome (babinski), you can do apnea tests, etc.

    google “brain death tests” and read the first three articles -they seem good ones.

    Sorry for the long post.

    The FiatRN

  4. Mechphisto says:

    @26…. huh?
    What did MANCE01 (20) say that sounded the least bit Orwellian?

    Personally, not only am I an organ donor, but instead of taking up space in a cemetery or contributing to air pollution (cremation) without giving something in return, I plan on donating my whole body upon death to a medical school or other institution that may have use for my discarded meat suit.

  5. Tenn says:

    my decision to *never* consent to the organ harvesting ghouls

    Organ harvesting ghouls? What, they’re ghouls for wanting to give someone a life when you aren’t going to have one? The woman wasn’t dead, this story is inaccurate as everyone has stated, and you think the organ donation program is a brutal harvest?

    I’m sorry, I don’t see your logic at all.

  6. mdhatter says:

    It is common in some faith traditions to keep the body attended for at least a full day after death, some stay with the body all the way to burial.

    I wonder how THAT superstitious tradition got started?

  7. foobar says:

    Organ harvesting ghouls? What, they’re ghouls for wanting to give someone a life when you aren’t going to have one? The woman wasn’t dead, this story is inaccurate as everyone has stated, and you think the organ donation program is a brutal harvest?

    It’s not that black and white, they’re playing the odds. Probably the transplanter won’t have a life, and the odds of the transplantee are greatly improved.

    That’s all well and good when the two lives in question are in equal value, but my life is considerably more valuable to me than any other. It’s the only one I’ll ever have, so I’m very defencive about the ghoulish tenancy to try to force or guilt people (or rather, me and those I care about) into being organ donors whether they like it or not.

  8. Daemon says:

    Hmm. A guy comes back from the dead, and he’s the son of god. When a woman does it, and it’s a freak medical occurance.

  9. Tenn says:

    @Daemon
    I was immaculately conceived.

  10. Tenn says:

    Transplants don’t just happen when the injured party gets a minor injury. They happen when there is a Schaivo situation going on, or when the dying is becoming dead. I’m sure there are occassions where people have snapped out of coma and all.

    I respect your idea of the value of your life and those you care about being more important than any other even in the strong likelihood that they will not continue and the continued clinging will only rob one more person of their life. I can vaguely understand that but not reconcile it to my own world view. I have little affection for even the most immediate of my family and have no issue making objective decisions about life or death.

    (Before it is said that I cannot say this without having been in a situation that would test this statement, I will mention that at ten I was the person responsible for handling my grandfather and trying to keep him conscious for the ambulance to arrive during his heart attack / respiratory crash, was the one to talk with the doctors and tend to him until help arrived because my mother and grandmother were hysterical, and at eleven, when my great grandmother was on life support and unlikely to make it through the night, I was the one who reminded my grandfather that her desire was to die peacefully.) I understood the gravity of each situation but was entirely emotionally uninvolved, a thing which I do not understand still. My great grandmother died that night and I attended her funeral the next Friday and she was dead and gone so there was no logical need for me to miss her, in my mind; she is inaccessible.

    I see all lives as equal, I’m afraid, and it makes me a terrible person in terms of love and humanity. I guess I can’t understand what you say because of that. I would organ donate, and I would donate the organs of the person closest to me if there was no real chance of her surviving, and there was a chance of someone else surviving because of her. I’m probably not someone anyone would want in control of their life on the death bed because I’d pull the plug.

    Sorry for this being so long. I wanted it to be a proper explanation because I don’t think you’re wrong for how you feel, and I was too brash in my first statement, I failed to consider how others operate.

  11. DefMech says:

    She was dead for 17 minutes, not 17 hours.

  12. Antinous says:

    Um, there’s no delicate way to put this. Look at her picture in this link, and tell me if you would want anything that she would be donating.

  13. Tenn says:

    This is an awful thing to say, but I guess I’m going to use her image to remind my grandmother that her aging could be much, much worse. She’s edging towards 59 and would be heartened to know she is a spring chicken.

  14. Jake0748 says:

    Yes, and she’s only 59 years old? Yeesh. At least she’s eating some orange jello, and not the green. That’s a good sign, isn’t it?

  15. Antinous says:

    I don’t believe that she’s 59. That has to be a mistake.

  16. SteveKiwi says:

    Did anyone ask her what she experienced in those 17 hours? Usually people talk about going into the bright lights after just a couple of minutes. After 17 hours she should have a lot of interesting stories to tell.

    Unless, of course, this story is not entirely accurate.

  17. Tenn says:

    You’re forgetting, she died. That has to age you a few years at least. You just don’t want to look like that when you’re 59, Antinous. You’re in denial. It’s coming for you. Age. Less than a decade off, you too will be cleaning your shaving cream out of your wrinkled jowls and blinding pedestrians with the glint of sunlight on your hair.

  18. geo the moose says:

    ” Sxst Pstng”:

    Tn mnts ltr th wmn wk p nd strtd tlkng…

    Dh.

  19. Antinous says:

    I shave with water.

  20. Tenn says:

    Whatever else chooses to collect in your creviced jowls then.

  21. Antinous says:

    Watch it, Goggle Girl.

  22. daveskilt says:

    I run a nursing home – seen this before. Longest time was one guy was room temperature for about 4 hours. The family came in and he sat up and asked what was for lunch. He did this 3 more times before checking out for good.

  23. Takuan says:

    shaving cream? pah! Try hagfish.

  24. proofpositivity says:

    My fiance works with her sister. She was actually in the bodybag before she started breathing they tagged her and everything.

  25. Jake0748 says:

    Yeah, Miss I don’t want to put up a photo because it might break your monitor. Don’t pick on old guys, if ye know what’s good for ya.

  26. Tenn says:

    Ten minutes later the woman woke up and started talking…

    Husband carried in hysterical tears from the room, muttering repeatedly, “she can’t die, she can’t die!”

  27. License Farm says:

    I can’t seriously be the first one inclined to make a joke about the West Virginia primary, corpses coming back to life and the like, can I?

  28. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    I shave with witch hazel and a scimitar wrested from the fist of a Saracen during the 13th Crusade. Old? OLD?
    White hair to dazzle you. Born while a WW II general was president.

  29. Tenn says:

    Jake, aren’t you twenty-two or was that someone else? You still belong at the children’s table with me, finger painting with mashed potatoes and mocking our elders.

    My Goggles are very fashionable, danke.

  30. Registrado says:

    As a Traveller, that’s one heck of a low passage revival roll!

  31. Takuan says:

    too young to remember Ross?
    “we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex… Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

  32. Takuan says:

    I want Google goggles, but they must be contacts

  33. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    The first use of the now common phrase ‘Military-Industrial Complex’ We take it for granted but Ike saw it first.

  34. believer says:

    OK let’s clear some things up. She WAS dead for 17 HOURS NOT minutes! There were NO MEASURABLE brain waves for over 17 hours. The ventilator was turned off for 10 minutes before they removed the tubes & just after all man made devices were removed then she started to move. For a full testimony & the full & true story from her family go to http://www.mfctoday.org & look up the video from May 18, 2008 10:45am service or go to the local news website http://www.wchstv.com & look up her story where they also will interview her Doctors. I pray that the lost souls reading this will find Jesus through this story. Quit trying to explain away miracles & embrace them. You would if it had happened in your family.

  35. Jake0748 says:

    Tenn – Musta bin somebody else. But yes I do belong at the kids table, I can finger paint and fling food with the best of them. I will never cease to take delight in mocking my elders (or contemporaries). As long as someone is saying “get off my lawn”, I’ll be ROFL.

    Life is too short to get old.

    And I’m still reserving judgment on the goggles.

  36. Tenn says:

    I like Ike. I wonder what it’s like to grow up in the age of intelligent presidential candidates. It might have been worth it even if I’d be old now.

    Also, the music! And the comics! I’m an anachronism.

    Takuan- how many sets would you NEED? Are contacts even rated for that much seawater?

  37. buddy66 says:

    No, I wouldn’t try to explain it away if it was a member of my family; I’d just take the body and run.

  38. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    Presidential candidates were chosen in smoke filled rooms. Today it takes longer and smells better but is more confusing. Plus, women and minorities involved now, so a net improvement.
    They only seemed intellectual because we, as a whole, were dumber.
    The only thing you REALLY missed out on was smoking cigarettes on commercial airline flights. Made you feel like you were really living. Sorry to rub that in.
    You do have nice goggles, though.

  39. Tenn says:

    I pray that the lost souls reading this will find Jesus through this story. Quit trying to explain away miracles & embrace them. You would if it had happened in your family.

    … Nope, because she’s no more special than anyone else and I refuse to believe in a God that makes arbitrary miracles, thanks. Which is not to say this is a miracle.

  40. noen says:

    Re: Playing with food – Something that I did with my children at about age four or five. Strip ‘em down to their undies, lay plastic on the walls and floor and set them at the kitchen table. Prepare two large bowls of instant pudding, one chocolate and one vanilla, stand back. After an hour or so hose them down in the driveway. It’s great fun, they absolutely loved it.

  41. JSG says:

    Are we sure that she was dead, she could have drunk Uncle Jed’s moonshine, that’ll curl your fingers.

  42. Antinous says:

    Check out young Ike. And, no, I don’t know why Mamie is wearing a niqab.

  43. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    “Check out young Ike.”
    Dude, I would rock that.

  44. Takuan says:

    maybe Xenu saved her

  45. Antinous says:

    Mightn’t that be a problem for Mrs. inDetroit?

  46. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    Uh.. here that means “I would wear those clothes”, although I immediately saw the alternate meaning.
    Mrs. in Detroit in concerned with lamps at the moment. Still.

  47. Antinous says:

    Ah. And on that note, good night.

  48. Tenn says:

    That is one delicious man, there. I LIKE Ike.

  49. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    Cheers.

  50. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    I can’t post a pic in my profile, but let’s see if this works:

    http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=164561

  51. pauldrye says:

    To amplify on #19 above, rigor mortis does imply irreversible chemical changes.

    It can only happen when the muscle cells are no longer processing adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the chemical your body uses to store energy. ATP needs to be burned to keep calcium ions out of the cells (or it might be in — it’s been a while since I learned this). When the cell no longer can use ATP, the ion exchange goes wonky and the muscle cells contract and can’t relax.

    Basically, rigor mortis can’t happen unless a significant fraction of a muscle’s cells are dead. Wake up from that and you’d probably die again immediately from the massive inflammatory reaction as your immune system overloads trying to get rid of all the dead cells.

  52. Tenn says:

    Good night, An-san!

  53. Jake0748 says:

    If this is you Ross, you are one classy lookin’ dude.

    http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/image.php?u=1415&dateline=1081916155

  54. Takuan says:

    so Ross, what did I hear the other day about Japanese made tube amps using old Russian triodes?

  55. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    Nope. That didn’t work. That’s my avatar, Joh Fredersen from the movie Metropolis. I’ll get a pic up when possible.
    I do look a bit like that but with white hair. The tweeds, build and cheekbones are about the same.
    And I do, coincidentally, live in a futuristic city with flying cars.

  56. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    I have a GM70 here on my desk. It’s a 125W thoriated tungsten direct heated triode made in the USSR for radar and radio communications. With an 801A as a Class A2 driver I can get 32 clean Watts out of one of these in Single Ended Class A2, and 250 watts out of a pair in Push Pull Class AB1.
    I design and build tube amps as a hobby when I’m not fixing some guitar player’s busted amp and hour before gig time.
    I used to mod the Speakers forum on Audio Karma before it got huge and enragingly chaotic.

  57. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Anonymous @102, Daveskilt @103, Whomever @46, FiatRN @47, and all the other medically knowledgeable readers who’ve commented:

    Well done all round. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen a Boing Boing thread correct and amplify a sloppy news story, but it’s a great demonstration of what a smart thread can do.

    Thanks!

    Ross, I’ve written to the Boingers about your proposition. Joel likes it. David Peskovitz says you’ll have to contact Gareth Branwyn. And Xeni says, “If he shoots video we’d love to consider for BBtv.”

    (I’m betting Cory will like the idea too, but right now he’s off in the wilds of Brooklyn with Alice and Poesy, taking a much-needed break from his book tour.)

    Is there anything I can contribute? Somewhere around here I have a stash of old tubes from a standing cabinet radio that reportedly worked just fine — right up to the point where the owner’s dogs got at the power cord and speaker assembly. I didn’t have room to keep the whole thing, but I had a good time taking it apart. I learned a lot about the assumptions behind the engineering.

    Rotwang is clearly descended from the old image of the alchemist in his lab.

    Takuan @90: I had some trouble making out the speaker’s intro. Was that Bussard as in Bussard Ramscoop?

    Zuzu, that was a damned weird piece of video. Are all the movies in the series like that?

    R. Absten @99, thanks for the local verification, and welcome.

  58. Takuan says:

    Yes. THE Bussard. I would have dearly loved to have been taught by him.

  59. Takuan says:

    have you ever built a Farnsworth Fusor?

  60. Tenn says:

    Is it a sepia world, Ross? Because I’m totally up for living in a sepia world.

    By the way, that was complete gibberish but sounded impressive.

  61. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    Uh… Let me look that up…

  62. Takuan says:

    a steampunk tube amp would win Great Favour Under Heaven

  63. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    Oh, that Farnsworth, Philo the TV dude. No I’m afraid nuclear fusion is beyond me.
    Tube audio is the lawnmower technology of music. It’s so dumb it has to work no matter what. Transistors are far more complex and difficult. Triodes, especially direct heated ones, are 19th century version of high tech.
    I build and use tube amps but they’re basically a vanity/nostalgia product. I get a few commissions a year to make amps from scratch.
    Mostly I rebuild vintage ’50′s – ’60′s tube audio gear and speakers and sell them to Southeast Asian and European collectors. For a living. It’s a strange old world.

  64. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    “Is it a sepia world, Ross?”
    Metropolis is a beautiful world. The most wonderful future that the distant past has to offer us.

  65. Zombie says:

    Does this mean she’s undead now? She was dead. Rigor mortis set in. She came back to life. That means undead, I say we watch her for signs of rage infected monkeys or space radiation.

  66. Thebes says:

    And in other news there has been a zombie uprising in West Virginia…

    Right here, PROOF of zombies I tell you. Surprised the media didn’t bury the story.

  67. Anonymous says:

    I am a critical care trained specialist.
    This is my bread and butter.

    There is a great deal of information missing from this story. If I am interpreting the missing bits right this is a relatively routine induction of hypothermia post cardiac arrest that worked. A couple of comments regarding the above.

    1) Brain dead is dead. EEG testing is not part of the recognised process for it’s diagnosis (although in some jurisdictions it is an adjunctive test). Brain death is diagnosed on the basis of clinical tests done in the absence of things that can cause clinical pictures LIKE brain death (including hypothermia, sedating drugs like barbituates) OR by radiologically proving the complete absence of blood flowing into the brain. There are no cases of resurrection after a PROPER diagnosis of brain death (including in Japan, where brain dead corpses have been kept ventilated for months).

    2) The rigor mortis the family noted is probably seizure activity which can led to constant tightening of muscles or hypo calcemic tetany (constatnt cramping of muscles from low calcium levels).

    3) No brain waves can be induced by drugs and hypothermia. So you would expect that EEG to be flat during the induced hypothermia.

    4) “Removes all the tubes” I guess implies the hypothermia machinery only. You would expect the brain intact patient to wake up as the body temperature normalised.

    There is a strong element of this which smacks of some misunderstanding between the family, and also the medical staff may not have had much experience at dowin this. There is a video on the net (can; find it just now. that shows a very jnior doctor, looking very sheepish as he is interviewed.
    Just my two cents worth….
    r

  68. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    I will build a Steampunk tube amp if Gareth Branwyn will host the pix on his site and BB will flatter me with a mention. It will cost half a kingdom to do right but what price Steampunk immortality?

  69. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    This is more like me in my natural element:

    http://www.rotwang.com/

  70. Angstrom says:

    so the undead woman has a mission from god now?

    I bet I know what it is … she needs to team up with a hunky vampire and solves supernatural crimes over a moody lethargic piano score.

    Mondays at 9 only on cbs

  71. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    I haven’t slept in 20 hours, so good night.
    I’ll start planning that Steampunk tube amp. It will give off some Gamma rays but the really pretty ones all do due to the violet glowing mercury vapor rectifiers.

    A last look at Metropolis:
    http://verdantmetropolis.homestead.com/metroindex.html

  72. Tenn says:

    Ought we go play in an old thread? Our off-topic banter is not sanctioned by the Commandments, is it milord Taku-san?

  73. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    This highly informative and educational thread is one of the reasons I love Boing Boing. No other general interest blog so frequently attracts reader contributions of this quality.

    Sincerest apologies for selfishly swerving the discussion onto the unrelated side track of Steampunk. Steampunk amp issues will be handled in appropriate forums. Thanks to TNH for the offer of materials. I have most of the parts on hand to build this ten times over. Aesthetic skills, not so much but maybe it’s time to learn. I’ll be in touch with the appropriate people.

  74. Takuan says:

    Yay!

  75. Takuan says:

    dinnae fash yersel lass, tis naught tae worrae – mayhap a great thing is a borning here this ee…

    goodnight then, the world is graced by your tread

  76. Tenn says:

    Well, if the party is departing anyway! Good night, Ross.

  77. Jake0748 says:

    You mean woman, right? :D

  78. haaz says:

    If wonder if there’s something to these hypothermia machines. Apparently they’ve started using them for people with traumatic brain injuries. Cooling the body apparently helps slow and reduce the trauma to the brain. Now it’s played a role in this woman’s spontaneous return to life. Hmm!

  79. PhiCancri says:

    WOAM? As is in the AM broadcasting station in Peoria, Illinois? I never knew it was dead.

  80. Santa's Knee says:

    “B-r-a-a-a-i-n-s!!!”

  81. IWood says:

    insert into boingboing_discussion
    (humorous_comment)
    values (‘zombie’,’brains’,’shotgun’);

  82. buddy66 says:

    “we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex… Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

    Sorry to be so late on this, but it’s one of my mini-crusades to let everyone know that Ike’s original version went like this: “…the military-industrial-CONGRESSIONAL complex…” [caps mine.] The two guys who wrote it say Ike and his aides thought it would piss off too many congressmen so they struck it, alas. I am waging a lonely one-man crusade to restore it. Sigh. And have been for twenty years. Anybody see my friend Sancho?

  83. Takuan says:

    duly noted, “congressional” added, you may quit the fight only after your head has been cut off.

    Thanks for that, I like learning things.

  84. kaosdevice says:

    I think I would be looking around for someone with an oversized syringe full of glowing green fluid.

  85. hellhead says:

    #2 They used it on the guy from the NFL that broke his neck. He wasn’t expected to walk again, and after a month or two he did just that, walked out of rehab.

    I read this a bit ago on another website; they said that rigormortis had set in. Her skin had hardened and fingers curled. That’s seriously creepy she came back after that; maybe they mistook something else as rigormortis but still they’re trained professionals.

  86. daveskilt says:

    She was on a vent still so not quite as startling. But I have seen people (not on vents) flatline for hours, zero respiration, body temp down to room temp, rigor mortis set in – then pop back. It is rare but most of the older docs have seen it a time or two. People most definitely can die and come back. I have watched them die, then watched them come back – 4 times with one patient over a three week period.

  87. Jake0748 says:

    Hey Tenn, is that the virus stuff from “Resident Evil”, where can I get some?

  88. AGF says:

    I know that if someone falls into cold water that is frozen over they can survive for much longer with no brain damage than someone who falls into warm water. The cold basically slows down everything in your body – giving you more time to get help. There have been a few stories of small children wandering outside in the cold (-30 kind of cold) at night and pretty much freezing,then being revived, and only losing a few toes.
    But wow – what a lucky lady!

  89. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Felsby @16:

    it is not possible to wake up after being brain dead. That only shows you were not brain dead in the first place, and that no proper test had been carried out.

    Felsby, how would they know she had no detectable brainwaves? Must have run an EEG, wouldn’t you think? Now, what is this proper test for braindeaditude that you assert was not carried out? Wouldn’t that have been an EEG?

    Maybe the event was odder than you imagine.

    mance01 @20: You know, you can catch more flies with honey than … well, than any sane human could want or need; but it’s still a good idea.

    As a member of the transplant community, I wish huge outlets like BoingBoing wouldn’t link to articles like this. The article is very poorly written and the medical aspects of it are very inconsistent.

    You know far more about this subject than most people, including the Boingers. I’m afraid you’re doomed to a lifetime of frustration over inaccuracies in the way the medical issues are represented in the press.

    By the way, mainstream news sources are stupid about sleep disorders, too.

    EdselPDX @21: see above.

    Zombie @40, I want to know whether she’s been tested for exposure to sunlight.

  90. hellhead says:

    I just watched a program last night about a guy snow mobiling that fell into a frozen lake and was dead for some two hours and they revived him by slowly thawing him with some crazy machine. He was so cold his metabolism had slowed down so much that his brain never died off. I forget what they call it but basilcally six minutes after the oxygen is cut off to your brain it starts to cause unrepairale damage and his throat closed up somehow so when he stopped breathing he didn’t suck in water.

    Sorry for the crappy details I was pretty jacked up on Ambien at the time.

  91. Scarybug says:

    Prediction 1: The medical details of this report are not accurate.

    Prediction 2: The fine people at the SGU podcast will be covering this one.

  92. Elysianartist says:

    I’m sorry but the only thing that stories like this do is remind me of all of the thousands and thousands and THOUSANDS of people throughout history who may have been in very similar situations and then were…….BURIED ALIVE!!!

  93. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    Hang on a minute, Buddy. If I understand correctly, a draft of the speech had the word Congressional, but they struck it from the version that was actually delivered. What makes that draft more valid than the words that he spoke, we heard and were recorded in history books? And why?

  94. technogeek says:

    “That’s not my grandma! She’s possessed, I tell you! POSSESSED!!”

    As I understand it, rigor mortis is basically cramping due to the muscles being starved of blood flow. It doesn’t mean all the tissues are dead yet — obviously, if they were talking about transplantation. It’s a symptom along the line to death, and an indication of when blood flow and respiration stopped… but these days, those functions can often be restarted.

    So that set of observations doesn’t surprise me overmuch.

    Brain activity restarting is more interesting. Learning how to trigger that might be Really Useful. Especially in conjunction with hypothermia treatment, which may slow down metabolism enough to reduce the risk of brain damage while heart and lungs are stopped. (If you’re going to drown, do so in the coldest water you can; odds of revival are better.)

    Even at room temp, the brain can survive _some_ time without blood flow before injury sets in. Judo players are limited to three minutes per encounter specifically because a choke hold maintained for three minutes or less doesn’t seem to do noticeable damage.

    For longer than that… well, loss of blood flow in the brain is the basic definition of a stroke. So I would suspect this woman has lost some brain cells. As I say, hypothermia may have helped buffer her against that, but one hopes the doctors are investigating carefully.

    But this is an exceptional case, so I don’t see any particular reason to rewrite my own directives — which essentially say “once the mind is no longer present in the brain, I’m done with the body; harvest what’s useful and discard the rest.”

    Speculation: How many days do you think it’ll be before someone comes out with a high-tech EEG-based version of the old “coffin bells”, which were introduced during a previous surge of fear of being buried alive? Get in on the ground floor of a profitable wave of paranoia, folks…

  95. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    (6 hours later) Good morning again. Oh, why do The Gods have to make me drink wine and boast? A Steampunk tube audio amplifier? This will be heavy, costly, hot, inefficient, difficult to build and full of dangerous chemicals and radiation. Well, at least I didn’t say I’d make a Hello Kitty version and post pictures of that. I’ll start scraping the bits into a heap tonight for the build. Six weeks from today it will be done. Start the countdown.

  96. Mim says:

    @#30 — It is less out of superstition than stemming from a need to keep rats at bay I would figure. (Or other animals, or enemies who would desecrate the corpse, etc. etc.)

    The bells on ropes into the buried coffin and tied to the finger of the corpse on the other hand…

  97. Anonymous says:

    Technogeek: You can’t get buried alive these days — they embalm you first. No one lives through that process. If you were alive when you went in to the mortician’s, you sure as heck ain’t alive when you come back out.

  98. felsby says:

    the report needs weeding out the medical inconsistencies – it is not possible to wake up after being brain dead. That only shows you were not brain dead in the first place, and that no proper test had been carried out.

  99. Skep says:

    #12 POSTED BY SCARYBUG , MAY 23, 2008 12:48 PM
    Prediction 1: The medical details of this report are not accurate.

    Prediction 2: The fine people at the SGU podcast will be covering this one.

    Prediction 3: The real details won’t get the same publicity and people will only remember the “miracle.”

  100. buddy66 says:

    It removed Congress from its share of the blame for the looting of America in the name of the Cold War. Why should they get a pass?

  101. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    I don’t disagree with Congress’s culpability. The revolving door between the military and defense contractors is a major cause as well. Congress has an unfortunate incentive to bring home the bacon in their districts in the form of military spending (pork).
    Your point about shared guilt for America’s bloated defense budget is well taken, but I think the speech can stand as spoken.
    I think Congress hasn’t really gotten a pass. If anything, they’re more visible in the issue of military budgets than Industry is.

  102. hellhead says:

    Maybe her brain did like my PC just did and rebooted itself.

  103. Anonymous says:

    I swear the exect same thing happened on House a few weeks back.

  104. Mechphisto says:

    Shenanigans!
    The son is the person who said rigor mortis had set in, not the doctors. My understanding is that rigior mortis is caused not just from lack of blood flow but from chemical changes that occur due to irreversible metabolic changes when all systems stop. Like livor mortis (blood pooling) there’s not coming back from this stage.

    While doctors can get flummoxed by the unexpected, I think they have a very good idea as to what happened here–no doctor (who doesn’t work for the Discovery Institute) would just say “well, it was a miracle–there’s no medical explanation.)

  105. vellon says:

    for anyone still hitting up this thread, Steven Novella has written a fantastic blog entry on this subject.

    http://www.theness.com/neurologicablog/?p=300

  106. mance01 says:

    As a member of the transplant community, I wish huge outlets like BoingBoing wouldn’t link to articles like this. The article is very poorly written and the medical aspects of it are very inconsistent. You can’t have “removed all the tubes” and then still be on a ventilator. You don’t have rigor mortis set in and still get to be an organ donor.

    You don’t wake up from brain death, and articles like this only serve to 1. misinform the public by propagating myths regarding organ donation 2. hurt the families of those who have donated organs by making them second-guess their selfless decision to give the gift of life.

    If this actually happened, you could rest assured it would be featured in several medical journals, and I’d be happy to read about it after it had been validated by the medical community. However you won’t see it in reliable sources, because it just doesn’t happen.

  107. edselpdx says:

    Medically inaccurate reporting. The “sources” are all her West Virgina family. The only thing from “doctors” is that her recovery is remarkable. A patient arriving at the ED with rigor mortis would not be resuscitated in any way even after being “rushed to the hospital”. Clearly she was not dead.

    The article inaccurately implies that people without heartbeats are kept on ventilators for organ donation. News flash: oxygenation (ventilator) means nothing if there is no circulation (heartbeat) to take the oxygenated blood to the vital organs and brain. While some organs (bone, tendon, cornea) can come from cadavers a few hours after death, liver, lungs, heart etc must be harvested in the operating room… the kidneys and heart are taken last, usually… which is what causes the heart to stop beating.

    Hypothermia decreases the amount of oxygen needed by the body, but does not create a situation where “brain dead” people come back to life unscathed. “They” say she was “brain dead”, but clearly was not. Not being responsive to external stimuli is not the same as being brain dead.

    Her “rigor mortis” is also clearly a misinterpretation (especially as it’s kind of defined as something that happens after death, and she clearly wasn’t dead.

    While I totally agree that medically induced hypothermia may have an increasing role in future (it’s already used now, but there are serious side effects).

    I’d like a true medical report and not some medically inaccurate anecdote.

  108. Scarybug says:

    #17. I bet you’re right.

  109. buddy66 says:

    Of course it stands as spoken, but there’s something missing, isn’t there? You won’t be able to hear it or read it again without adding “Congressional.” At least that’s the way it was with me.

  110. edselpdx says:

    Well stated MANCE01.

  111. Anonymous says:

    This woman is my Aunt’s next door neighbor. They actually share their front porch. It’s been tres interesting to watch this story go from Joyce (the Aunt) calling my mom about it as the story unfolded, to the local news, to the wire services, to world-wide internet curiosity.

    R. Absten

  112. Antinous says:

    mance01,

    I would hope that nobody is making medical decisions based on BoingBoing which is, after all, primarily an entertainment blog. The article still legitimately raises the question of whether she would have survived if she had been extubated. There’s no magic formula for a family to decide when to remove all medical intervention. I can’t imagine that there would be very many situations where the next of kin wouldn’t second-guess their decision. And, FYI, I worked in liver transplant and have two good friends on the transplant list.

  113. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    Yes, that does make the concept more complete when you put it that way.

  114. santellana says:

    she’s a witch!

    haha, she pulled a jesus.

  115. Jake0748 says:

    Ross (also good morning again), six weeks, can’t wait to see it. Hey if it isn’t hot, heavy and giving off dangerous vapors and radiation, then it aint steampunk. Make sure to post photos.

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