A grandmother has been brought back from the dead twice – and has even survived spending three days in a morgue.
The 61-year-old Russian woman has been declared dead twice by doctors, but each time has come back to life – and once was minutes away from being cut open for her autopsy.
Hardy Lyudmila Steblitskaya spent 3 days laying in a freezing cold morgue, while her family mourned the retired cook.
The mother’s eery habit of returning to life has not only left her family torn between grief and hope that she may come back to life, but perplexed doctors too, The Siberian Times reported.
She has scared both doctors, friends and family once in November last year and in October this year.
The initial confusion began last year, when Lyudmila was taken to Tomsk Regional Clinical Hospital and spent days in hospital because she felt unwell.
The devastated woman began planning her mother’s funeral and breaking the bad news to friends and family.
She spent 60,000 roubles (£1,223) buying flowers, a casket, arranging for a grave to be dug, and buying food for the mourners who planned to attend the funeral on the Monday morning, according to the newspaper.
On the Monday, she went to the hospital to collect her mother’s body – only to be told to wait as doctors had not performed an autopsy.
She told the newspaper that a startled doctor then approached her and said that her mother was not dead, but was in her bed breathing and alive.
A disbelieving Anastasia went in to the room to find her mother calling her name, and screamed and dropped her bag.
She told The Siberian Times: ‘My head was so fuzzy that I didn’t even think about getting back into the room, and hugging mum. Or asking her about what happened.
‘Instead I started calling everyone, saying things like “Er, sorry. Can you please stop digging the grave. Ah, is it done? OK… well, there won’t be a funeral, my mother is alive”.’
Her mother cannot remember what happened, only that she was in hospital on the Friday and then woke up in a morgue on Monday to discover that her skin was peeling off from the cold.
Mostly, she is just grateful to be alive and be able to see her friends and family.
In October 2012, Lyudmila – who has a history of heart problems – had another ‘apparent death’ during a hospital stay but this time doctors brought her back to life after several hours.
On the morgue incident, chief doctor of Tomsk Regional Clinical Hospital Maksim Zayukov, said: ‘As of now I cannot explain why this mistake happened,’ The Siberian Times reported.
‘This sad procedure has always worked in our hospital like clockwork: the moment of death is always registered by the intensive care doctor.
‘Proper checks are always conducted. This all happens before the family are informed about the death’.
A hospital spokeswoman said: ‘The checks were carried out and she was dead – or so it seemed.
‘The papers could not have been signed unless this is what the doctors establish. We are still trying to understand what went wrong in Lyudmila’s case’.
Ms Steblitskaya is not the only person to be given a second chance at life.
Earlier this year, mourners in Egypt cheered when the ‘dead’ body they were burying woke up. Hamdi Hafez al-Nubi, a 28-year-old waiter, had been declared dead after suffering a heart attack at work.
His body was being prepared for burial when another doctor, sent to sign his death certificate, discovered he was still warm and managed to revive him.
And in April a 95-year-old Chinese woman climbed out of her own coffin six days after she was declared dead following a fall.
Under Chinese tradition, Li Xiufeng was placed in a coffin kept in her house so friends and relatives could pay their respects. But the day before the funeral, neighbours found an empty coffin and later discovered her in the kitchen cooking.