These cases are called ”Lazarus Syndrome” after the Bible’s Lazarus of Bethany. Lazarus syndrome is extremely rare. There are several theories about the cause of these seeming resurrections. Catalepsy, Hypothermia and Locked-in syndrome, as well as neural disorders, such as Epilepsy and Parkinson disease, are suspected. In locked-in syndrome, a patient is aware of their surroundings but they experience complete paralysis of voluntary muscles The Daily Mail reported in 2014 about a 39-year-old female who had Locked-in syndrome. The doctors declared her brain dead and she heard them discussion with her family whether to turn off her life support, while she could not tell them that she was fully conscious.
The fact that such cases do occur and aren’t always recognized brings into question whether the current clinical definition of brain death is sufficient enough to avoid dreadful mistakes and should be revised. There are suggestions that death should not be certified immediately after stopping CPR. But a suitable time should be allowed to see whether ROSC (Return Of Spontaneous Circulation) occurs.
This phenomenon might also play a part in NDEs, (Near Death Experiences) when upon return of the circulation it gives rise to feelings of levitation, total serenity, security, warmth, the experience of absolute dissolution, the presence of light and meeting Beings of light, are experienced, followed by other hallucinations and dreams before waking up.
The fact that Brain Death can be declared and certified of patients with the Lazarus Syndrome is disturbing but hopefully avoidable.