Kenyan man presumed dead regains consciousness before embalmment at morgue

Francis Akhalbey November 30, 2020
Mortuary attendants were just about embalming Peter Kigen when they realized he was alive -- Photo Credit: Nikko/Tanui Standard

A Kenyan man who was declared dead after his unresponsive body was brought to a hospital shockingly regained consciousness at the morgue when workers were just about embalming him.

According to local newspaper The Standard, 32-year-old Peter Kigen was taken to the Kapkatet Hospital in the town of Kericho by relatives on November 24 after he collapsed at home. While at the hospital, his brother, identified as Kevin Kipkurui, said he was going through formalities to register Kigen to receive treatment when a nurse told him he had died. Kipkuru said the nurse claimed his brother, who suffers from a chronic illness, passed away before he was brought to the hospital.

“When I went back to the casualty department at around 7.45 pm, I learnt my brother was dead. A nurse told me that he died long before we arrived at the hospital,” Kipkurui told the news outlet. “The nurse later handed me a document to take to the mortuary attendant before my brother’s body was moved to the morgue.”

Hours after Kigen was taken to the mortuary, Kipkurui said the attendants there told him his brother regained consciousness whilst they were preparing to embalm him. Per the New York Post, the mortuary attendants were actually slicing his leg to begin the embalming process when he writhed out in pain.

“The mortician called me into the morgue and we saw him make movements. We were shocked. We could not understand how they could move a person who is still alive into the mortuary,” Kipkurui said.

Speaking to the news outlet from his hospital bed, Kigen expressed his shock at being taken to the mortuary after he was presumed dead.

“I cannot believe what just happened. How did they establish that I was dead?,” Kigen asked.

Kigen was later taken back to the ward for treatment, and medical officers managed to stabilize his condition after three hours, The Standard reported. A relieved and thankful Kigen said: “I did not even know where I was when I regained consciousness, but I thank God for sparing my life. I will serve him for the rest of my life.”

Dr. Gilbert Cheruiyot, the hospital’s medical superintendent, said Kigen’s relatives were too hasty in taking him to the mortuary, adding that he was in a critical condition when they brought him in.

“His relatives presumed he was dead and did not even wait for certification of death. They moved him to the mortuary, on their own,” Dr. Cheruiyot said. “They asked Kigen’s relatives to give them some time but they accused the clinicians of taking too much time and decided to take him to the mortuary. It was while the mortician was getting ready to embalm his body that she noticed some signs of life.”

Dr. Cheruiyot added: “The patient was later taken to the ward and is responding well to treatment. We hope to discharge him in a few days.”

He also shared a word of advice: “I advise those bringing their loved ones to the hospital to follow the laid down regulations. Before a body is moved the mortuary, it has to be certified by a clinician. In Kigen’s case, we can only say he was lucky, especially because of our qualified mortician who checked him before making any move.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: November 30, 2020


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