Family members of 54-year-old Valdelucio Goncalves had been informed their loved one had died from "respiratory and multiple organ failure" following a pair of heart attacks, and the body could be identified at the morgue of Menandro de Farias General Hospital in Salvador, Brazil.
"Workers at the morgue let me in, and showed me where he was lying, in a zipped-up body bag," Goncalves' brother Walterio described to Brazilian news site G1.
"But as I got closer I could see it wriggling. Then he saw it raising and falling as if he was breathing .. I went crazy and shouted for the medical team, the nurse, so they could see what was happening. They checked him and confirmed that he was still alive."
Nurses had to untie Goncalves' arms and legs and remove cotton that had been stuffed in his nose and and ears.
While the hospital and local health department are investigating the incident and treating it as a macabre accident, Goncalves believes it was divine intervention at the hands of deceased Franciscan Sister Blessed Irma Dulce, who is considered a saint with the power to grant miracles in Brazil.
"I, Valdelucio, saw death at my feet, but my faith was so great that I was cured," wrote Goncalves, who reportedly cannot speak.
"Before Irma Dulce I said, do a miracle in me, and she heard my prayer. I saw my mother telling me, son, hold onto her and you will be saved."