A prisoner found dead in his jail cell. Moments before his autop - Tucson News Now

A prisoner found dead in his jail cell. Moments before his autopsy, he began to snore

(Source: Pixabay) (Source: Pixabay)
(WBTV) -

A man in Spain, who was declared dead, was moments away from having his body autopsied when he began to snore, alerting doctors that he was actually still alive.

According to the Spanish news outlet La Voz de Asturias, Gonzalo Montoya Jiménez, a prisoner at a jail in northern Spain, was found unconscious in his cell on Sunday and was believed to be dead. In fact, three forensic doctors declared him dead.

Montoya Jiménez was reportedly found in his cell around 8 a.m. and was believed dead for nearly four hours until he started making noise on the autopsy table.

According to his family, Montoya Jiménez's body even had the marks painted on it to guide the autopsy.

He has now regained consciousness and is in the intensive care unit at the Central University Hospital of Asturias (HUCA) in Oviedo, Spain.

But how, exactly, does something like this happen? Determining whether someone is dead or alive might sound simple enough, but there are not universal guidelines for exactly when doctors should pronounce someone dead.

"You're dead when a doctor says you're dead," Dr. James Bernat, a neurologist at Dartmouth College's Geisel School of Medicine in New Hampshire, told Live Science in a 2014 interview.

Broadly speaking, a person may be declared dead when one of two things happens: Their heart stops beating and doesn't start again, or they are "brain-dead." A person is considered brain-dead when he or she no longer has any neurological activity in the brain or brain stem — meaning no electrical impulses are being sent between brain cells.

Doctors perform a number of tests to determine whether someone is brain-dead, such as checking whether the individual can initiate his or her own breath, Dr. Diana Greene-Chandos, an assistant professor of neurological surgery and neurology at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, told Live Science in a 2014 interview.

Jiménez's family said Jiménez had epilepsy, and they suspect the condition may have played a role in the unusual circumstances of his presumed death, according to La Voz de Asturias. Some people with epilepsy can experience a condition called catalepsy, or a "trancelike" state in which their muscles become rigid and they are unresponsive to stimuli.

Copyright 2018 WBTV. All rights reserved.

  • Local newsMore>>

  • Man taken into custody peacefully after making violent threats

    Man taken into custody peacefully after making violent threats

    Thursday, July 19 2018 1:35 PM EDT2018-07-19 17:35:42 GMT

    The Sierra Vista Police Department took a local man into custody peacefully Wednesday afternoon after he called the police threatening to commit a shooting at his apartment complex. 

    The Sierra Vista Police Department took a local man into custody peacefully Wednesday afternoon after he called the police threatening to commit a shooting at his apartment complex. 

  • One of two escaped inmates captured

    One of two escaped inmates captured

    Thursday, July 19 2018 1:30 PM EDT2018-07-19 17:30:49 GMT
    The inmates were discovered missing Sunday afternoon (Source: BOP).The inmates were discovered missing Sunday afternoon (Source: BOP).

    The minimum security facility, which is located on South Wilmot Road, currently houses 140 men.

    The minimum security facility, which is located on South Wilmot Road, currently houses 140 men.

  • Tucson police investigating stabbing at midtown convenience store

    Tucson police investigating stabbing at midtown convenience store

    Thursday, July 19 2018 1:06 PM EDT2018-07-19 17:06:05 GMT
    Police investigate a stabbing incident at a midtown Circle K. (Source: Tucson News Now)Police investigate a stabbing incident at a midtown Circle K. (Source: Tucson News Now)

    Detectives with the Tucson Police Department are investigating an incident at the Circle K at Ft. Lowell and Alvernon.  

    Detectives with the Tucson Police Department are investigating an incident at the Circle K at Ft. Lowell and Alvernon.  

Powered by Frankly