I’m late finding this story, but something similar happened to a great great (great? I don’t know how many) uncle of mine. He was in the US Army during WWI, and came down with the flu. Yes, that flu. Anyway, he wasn’t doing well, and then he died. Well, he was declared dead and sent to the morgue, anyway, where he awakened some time later. He survived, but years later, either he or his wife or someone was applying for some sort of benefits, and were told he had been declared dead back in 1918. He was still very much alive, though.
You might think 100 years on that medicine would be doing quite a bit better discerning the living from the dead, no?
One would have hoped.
To be fair, the definitions have also changed with the technology. Before the development of CPR and external defibrilation, if your heart stopped, you were dead. Much simpler. Today, we can (at least sometimes) do a lot more to keep people alive, or restore signs of life. “Dead” isn’t a platonic state, it’s “currently available medical technology can’t help you anymore.” As a side effect, the more we can do, and the more nuanced the situations where it does or doesn’t work, the harder it gets to define death.
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