People have been worried about being buried alive for centuries. Hell, the Victorians were so concerned about it, they went out and bought the Bateson Life Revival Device – an iron bell mounted on the outside of a grave. If mistakenly buried alive, the not-so-deceased could ring the bell via a string threaded into their chamber.
In fact, people were so terrified it would happen to them, that the inventor George Bateson was awarded a medal by Queen Victoria for “services to the dead.”
It is believed modern medicine has since wiped out cases of mistaken burial, but last week a South African woman came very close! In what sounds like our worst nightmare, a living woman was found in the mortuary of Carletonville Hospital, Gauteng province, south-west of Johannesburg on 24th June.
After being involved in a car accident that killed two others, she’d been declared dead at the scene by paramedics. However, when staff at the morgue later attempted to move the bodies to the fridge, they realised she was still breathing.
A source at the morgue said: “Paramedics are trained to determine death, not us. You never expect to open a fridge and find someone in there alive. Can you imagine if we had begun the autopsy and killed her?”
While Operations Manager Gerrit Bradnick said: “We followed our procedures, we’ve got no idea how it happened. The crew is absolutely devastated – we’re not in the business of declaring living people dead, we’re in the business of keeping people alive.”
He said his crew of paramedics had followed the usual steps to check for life, claiming “This did not happen because our paramedics are not properly trained.”
The lucky woman has since been moved to a hospital, where is being treated or her injuries. Unsurprisingly, her family are demanding answers.