Colombian Woman Thought to be Dead Moves Her Arm at Funeral Home

Just as an undertaker was about to inject embalming fluid into the corpse in front of him, he saw the woman moves her arms, doctors in Cali, Colombia said yesterday.

Noelia Serna, 45, was declared dead early Tuesday after being rushed to the hospital suffering from a heart attack. She was admitted on Monday and survived for about 10 hours on life support, but then seemingly didn't respond to resuscitation efforts following a second attack.

Funeral home employee Jaime Aullon was shocked two hours after her “death” to see Serna move.

"She was moving her right arm," Aullon said. "I stopped the procedure and brought her back to the hospital to be treated."

"Her chances of survival are slim," said hospital director Luis Fernando Rendon.

Neurosurgeon Juan Mendoza Vega, a member of the Colombian National Medical Ethics Board, said that on rare occasions, a person's heart rate and breathing can drop to undetectable levels, leading doctors to erroneously declare a patient dead.

"It can happen," he said. "But it's not a matter of coming back to life because the person was never dead."