PRESTON, England, June 11 (UPI) -- A young British man suffering from a heart condition revived spontaneously half an hour after he was pronounced dead, witnesses said at an inquest.
Dr. John Whittaker, testifying at Preston Magistrates Court, said the phenomenon is known as Lazarus syndrome and is so rare only 38 cases have been confirmed. The syndrome gets its name from the Biblical Lazarus, who rose from the dead.
But Michael Wilkinson's return to life was short, The Daily Mail reported. The 23-year-old died two days later after emergency surgery.
"When we pronounce him dead that is not a small thing, you make absolutely certain," Whittaker said. "The decision to pronounce him dead was because we had worked on him for 15 minutes and come to the end of what we could do."
Drugs administered after Wilkinson's mother found him unconscious in bed and summoned medical help may have been responsible for his return to life, Whittaker said.
An autopsy found Wilkinson suffered from an undiagnosed abnormal thickness of the left ventricle.
"He was a good-hearted lad, and it was his heart that took him," his grandmother, Carole Bolton, said.