A Woman Returns From the World of the Dead
Imagine you are alone working in a funeral home late at night. Your bones are tired and ready to quit, but you must finish embalming one more body before you can call it a day. Suddenly, the body you are working on moves before your very eyes.
The above is not a citation from a horror movie script, but a poetic interpretation of what happened in a funeral home in Cali, Colombia last Tuesday. Except that it was not night, and Jaime Aullon was not working alone at the end of his shift.
Noelia Serna, a woman of 45, who suffered from multiple sclerosis had a heart attack on Monday. She was admitted to Cali University Hospital, where the doctors placed her on life support. However, she died 10 hours later and all attempts to revive her failed. The doctors declared her dead on Tuesday morning.
Her body was taken to a funeral home. A couple hours later, employee Jaime Aullon was about to push embalming fluid into her leg when he saw her moving her right arm. He stopped injecting into her and took her back to the hospital.
Later, Dr. Juan Mendoza Vega, a member of the Colombian National Medical Ethics Board stated that it was not a case of the dead coming back to life, but rather explained that in rare cases a person’s vital signs can drop to undetectable levels, misleading doctors to declare the person dead.
In the not so forgotten past, in eastern India, it was customary that a dead person be taken to itulsi tala (under the shade of a sacred plant) as one of the last rites. Once someone was taken to tulsi tala, the person was literally among the dead, and could not be taken back to the world of the living. Regardless of their vital signs, that person had to live outside the society rest of her life.
Luckily, Ms. Serna didn't die (or live) in India during those times.