In the 18th century, the safety casket was crafted to protect people from a premature death. The coffin came complete with a bell, which was stationed above ground and tied to a string that was accessible to the ‘corpse’, so that should they not be dead they could call for assistance.

As modern medicine has advanced, the safety casket has lost favor, as people place their confidence in medical professionals. However, despite highly technical equipment and a plethora of drugs, doctors can still get it wrong.

This week, a young Peruvian man is claimed to have ‘awoken’ at his funeral in front of horrified mourners. Watson Franklin Mandujano Doroteo, from Tingo Maria, had been pronounced dead by doctors after suffering with a fever following a root canal operation on October 21.

His heartbroken family laid their son to rest in an open casket funeral a few days later, only to see him breathing. Distressed relatives watched as his rib-cage continued to rise and fall, despite being pronounced dead. Upon witnessing the apparent signs of life, they immediately called a doctor.

According to Argentine newspaper, Los Andes, the doctor arrived and confirmed that Doroteo was showing vital signs. Immediately he was removed from the coffin and taken to the hospital, where it was confirmed that he was truly dead.

Doroteo’s family are convinced that he was not dead, but actually sedated as a result of the drugs he had been given during his dental operation. “They gave him diazepam”, explained one family member. Diazepam, also known as Valium, is a calming drug which makes the recipient sleepy. In very rare cases, the drug can decrease the patient’s breathing.

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