The Star, Saturday April 16, 2011
Hospital: It’s a Lazarus case
By DERRICK VINESH and ANDREA FILMER
BUTTERWORTH: The case of the ‘dead’ man who came back to life is suggestive of the Lazarus phenomenon.
This was the findings of an independent board of inquiry set up by the Seberang Jaya Hospital to look into the case.
Hospital director Dr Sukumar Mahesan said the board opined that the phenomenon could not be conclusively explained even though various theories had been documented.
“When the patient was brought into the Emergency Department, he was already in cardiac arrest.
“Full cardiopulmonary resuscitation was carried out by a trained team comprising of a senior medical officer, two medical officers and three assistant medical officers,” he said.
Dr Sukumar said cardiopulmonary resuscitation procedure (CPR) was adequately carried out for 45 minutes but was not successful.
He said the patient was pronounced dead after the team established absence of vital signs and this was supported by asystole, a dire form of cardiac arrest in which the heart is at a total standstill.
He said the asystole was noted on the vital signs monitor and electrocardiogram (ECG).
“When the patient showed signs of revival, prompt action was taken to resuscitate him. He was stabilised and then transferred to the Intensive Care Unit,” he said, adding that a team of specialists was presently managing the patient.
Medical practitioners interviewed are bewildered by the incident.
Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) Penang branch chairman Datuk Dr Bhupinder Singh said it was the first time he had heard of such a case happening locally.
He said he had personally not seen any such cases which are also known as the Lazarus Syndrome but had read about them.
“The syndrome is very rare as well as very difficult to explain and not well understood,” said Dr Bhupinder, a forensics pathologist with 32 years of experience.
Penang Medical Practitioners’ Society president Kol (R) Dr Vejayan Rajoo said he too had never heard of a local case of Lazarus Syndrome.
“However, it is possible. We will need to know exactly how the death was diagnosed and how the man was monitored after he was pronounced dead,” Dr Vejayan said.
In Kuala Lumpur, MMA president Dr David Quek said Ng may have been misdiagnosed as having Lazarus Syndrome as there were other conditions that mimicked death.
“On rare occasions, deep comas due to several causes may result in spontaneous recoveries. Comas caused by liver or kidney (problems) may present symptoms of immobility and apparent death. Transient strokes or brain attacks can also present likewise symptoms,” Dr Quek said.