According to CBS and a variety of other news outlets, a man called Tony Yahle's heart stopped for 45 minutes, he was pronounced dead, and then he came back to life. Many of the articles make statements about "his stunned doctors, who can't find an explanation."

1) Is this story true/possible?

2) If so, is there really no explanation for this phenomenon?

There is also a video on it from abc here.

  • 2
    There is a difference between the doctors being unable to find an explanation and there not being an explanation. Which one is the real claim? Jul 2, 2016 at 3:51
  • The claim is his personal doctors cannot find an explanation, is that reasonable, or were their words taken out of context? If they don't have an explanation, is there an accepted explanation that they just didn't know? (The second question is outside the scope of any claim actually made, but it is implied by their claim that there is no explanation. Several of the stories credit God.)
    – James G.
    Jul 2, 2016 at 6:27

1 Answer 1

  1. Yes, this story is sometimes possible medically due to a condition known as the "Lazarus phenomenon".

While the nuts and bolts of the “Lazarus Phenomenon” remain an enigma, doctors can still take precautions to ensure that they don’t quit on a patient too early. Adhiyaman recommends that physicians notify family members that CPR has been stopped and then monitor the patient for at least 10 to 15 minutes before declaring death. “Death is not an event, it is a process. It happens gradually as your organs start shutting down. And so unless you are absolutely certain, you should not certify death,” he says. Source: The Lazarus Phenomenon, Explained

  1. The explanation for this phenomenon is that in some cases, there are effects of positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) on venous return and cardiac output which might cause delayed return of spontaneous circulation.

The exact mechanism of delayed ROSC is unclear and it is possible that more than one mechanism is involved. Dynamic hyperinflation of the lung causing increased positive end expiratory pressure (PPEP) is one of the proposed mechanisms, which has some supporting evidence in patients with obstructive airways disease. Death should not be certified in any patient immediately after stopping CPR, and one should wait at least 10 minutes, if not longer, to verify and confirm death beyond doubt. This is in line with what was said by W H Sweet in 1978: ‘the time honoured criteria of the stoppage of the heart beat and circulation are indicative of death only when they persist long enough for the brain to die. Source: The Lazarus phenomenon

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