Harleen Kaur Grewal

Karnataka, March 02, 2021: A taluka health officer in Bagalkot in northern Karnataka faced the shock of his life when he touched a corpse lying in front of him for postmortem and saw its hand moving. The case came to light at Mahalingapur Government Hospital in Bagalkot on Monday.

A 27-year-old man named Shankar Gombi fell victim to a road accident in Mahalingapur on 27 February. He was admitted to a private hospital in Belagavi district and after being under observation for two days, the private hospital declared him brain dead and asked the family to take him to his body.

After this, the body was sent to the government hospital in Mahalingapur on Monday for postmortem. The task of postmortem was given to Taluka Health Officer Doctor SS Galgali.

Dr. Galgali told Hindustan Times, ‘While coming to the hospital I saw many banners and cut-outs announcing the death of this man. I knew the face of this man but did not expect that he would be alive.’

On reaching the hospital, the doctor noticed that the man was still kept on a ventilator. When the doctor asked the family the reason for this, he said that the doctors of the private hospital have told him that the person will also stop breathing when removed from the ventilator.

The doctor said, ‘The family was told that once the ventilator is removed, the person will be formally declared dead. Therefore, they had also started preparations for the final rites. His friends had also given information about the man’s death on social media and when I reached the hospital, there were at least 1000 people there.’

He further said, ‘I started the autopsy and touched it and saw that the person’s hair was standing, which meant that his body was alive. Then I tested with a pulse-oximeter and also saw the heartbeat. I removed it from the ventilator and waited for a while. I was surprised to see that he was shaking his hand. I then called his family and he was admitted to another private hospital.’

On Tuesday morning, Doctor Galgali came to know that there were improvements in Gombi and that his body parts were also functioning properly. The doctor said that he had done more than 400 postmortems in his 18-year career, but has never seen another such case.