A mother of two has stunned doctors by apparently coming back from the dead.
Velma Thomas's heart stopped beating three times and she was clinically brain dead for 17 hours. Her son had left the hospital to make funeral arrangements, having been told she would not survive.
But ten minutes after her life support system was shut down and doctors were preparing to take her organs for donation, the 59-year-old woke up.
Heart specialist Kevin Eggleston said: 'There are things that as physicians and nurses we can't always explain. I think this is one of those cases.'
He said Mrs Thomas had no pulse, no heartbeat or brain activity after her admission to hospital. She had been found unconscious after suffering a heart attack at her home in
While at the Charleston Area Medical Centre she suffered two further heart attacks and was placed on a life support system.
About 25 family members and friends gathered inside the hospital waiting room. 'We just prayed and prayed and prayed,' said her son Tim, 36. 'And I came to the conclusion she wasn't going to make it.
'I was given confirmation from God to take her off the ventilator and my pastor said the same thing. I felt a sense of peace that I made the right decision. Her skin had already started hardening, her hands and toes were curling up. There was no life there.'
He said after he left the hospital he was called and told she had shown signs of life.
By the time he got to her hospital room, Mrs Thomas was alert and talking. 'She had already asked, "Where's my son?",' he said.
Dr Eggleston added: 'It's a miracle.'