Woman found alive in coffin during own wake definitely dead this time

Bella Montoya, 76, died Friday a week after being pulled alive from a coffin during her own wake. She is unequivocally deceased, reports Ecuador's Ministry of Health.

Montoya was quickly transported to the Martin Icaza General Hospital when she was found alive after banging on her own coffin at the wake in Babahoyo. "During her hospital stay, she received comprehensive medical care and periodic evaluation by hospital specialists. Likewise, the respective medical audit was carried out for this case," Ecuador's Ministry of Public Health said in a statement. Montoya initially entered the hospital for a stroke and was reported dead once before. Barberán told CNN that he has to register his mother's death on the civil registry for a second time

Waking up a the morgue is not as unusual as you would think, writes Carla Valentine, citing the cases of a Polish woman who surprised her family after 11 hours on the slab and a young kenyan man who woke up in a mortuary a day after poisoning himself and being declared dead.

Even within the medical community there is debate over what really constitutes death, and it is seen less as a single event and more as a process. It involves several different mechanisms ceasing, not just one, which is why there can be ethical arguments around brain stem death – when the person is in fact deceased but their tissues can be artificially kept alive.

This all reminds me of The Serpent and The Rainbow, a book which explained "zombies" as people in a drug-induced torpor that passes for death, all in the context of Haitian religion and history. Thinking about it now I have a feeling it's probably not aged well.