A 54-year-old Brazilian man who had been declared dead after a battle with cancer, shocked his family and hospital staff when he awoke inside a plastic body bag.
Valdelucio Goncalves was declared dead at the Hospital Menandro de Farias, located in a metropolitan area of Salvador, along Brazil’s northeast coast.
Suffering from cancer that was already in an advanced stage, according to his family, Goncalves suffered two heart attacks at the hospital and was finally pronounced dead around 11 p.m. Sunday.
“Really I thought he was dead, he looked yellow and had no vital signs,” Goncalves’ cousin Eduardo Valadares told Globo.
His nostrils and ears were stuffed with cotton and his wrists and ankles bound before his body was placed in a sealed bag and sent to the morgue.
Goncalves’ niece, Patricia Cintra, says it was at the morgue when her uncle miraculously regained consciousness. When his brother Walterio Goncalves arrived with a change of clothes to prepare his body for the funeral, he noticed the bag moving.
“He called the doctors, when they saw him they immediately brought him back to the hospital room . . . he had been in the sealed bag for two hours.”
Unable to talk because of the breathing tubes, Goncalves immediately wrote down what he experienced:
“I, Valdelucio, saw death at my feet, but my faith was so big that I was able to heal myself. Before Saint Irma Dulce (a Brazilian Catholic Sister), I said: I asked her to grant just one more miracle for me and she listened. I’m just so grateful to the medical staff and my Irma Dulce. Because of everything and for everyone, I’m thankful. I saw my mother saying, ‘Son, stay close with her and you will be saved.’”
Goncalves’ mother had died 18 years before.
The family says they are now planning to donate the money they set aside for casket, $840, to Obras Sociais de Irma Dulce, a group that works to help the poor.
An investigation by the health department of the state of Bahia is also underway as the hospital tries to figure out how such a thing could have happened.