The grave was dug, the family present and the body about to be buried. But a funeral in India took a turn for the unexpected when the supposedly dead man started to move.
Mourners at Mohammad Furqan’s send-off looked on in astonishment as they realised their loved one – declared deceased by doctors – was still very much alive.
The 20-year-old was rushed back to hospital and placed on a ventilator.
But the story of the narrow escape in the city of Lucknow has shocked the country, raised questions about its healthcare system and prompted the launch of an investigation in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
Crucially, it was reportedly claimed that Mr Furqan – who has been unconscious since an accident on 21 June – was declared dead on Monday after his family told an unnamed private hospital caring for him that they had run out of money to pay his bills.
He was sent home in an ambulance the same day with doctors saying he had passed away.
Older brother Mohammad Irfan said the family had been left traumatised by the roller coaster of emotions.
He told the Hindustan Times: “Devastated, we were preparing for the burial when some of us saw movement in his limbs. We immediately took Furqan to the Ram Manohar Lohia hospital where the doctors said he was alive and have put him on ventilator support.
“We had paid Rs 7 lakh [£8,000] to the private hospital earlier and when we told them that we had run out of money, they had declared Furqan dead.”
Narendra Agarwal , chief medical officer in Lucknow, said: “We have taken cognisance of the incident and the matter will be thoroughly probed."
He added: “The patient is in critical condition but definitely not brain dead. He has pulse, blood pressure and his reflexes are working. He has been put on ventilator support.”
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