Joao Araujo, 48, keeled over at the wheel while taking his wife to work, and after six hours of trying to bring him back, doctors told his family he’d died. He is seen in a recent photo
A postman who ‘died’ for 21 minutes after suffering a cardiac arrest has been dubbed a miracle after he came back to life – while being wheeled to the morgue.
Joao Araujo, 48, keeled over at the wheel while taking his wife to work, and after six hours of trying to bring him back, doctors told his family he’d died.
Nurses were wheeling him from intensive care to the morgue when they noticed he was moving – and tests revealed circulation had spontaneously returned to Mr Araujo’s heart.
A team of medics said there is no exact explanation for what happened to him – or why he was able to go back to work after just three weeks.
It was recorded on his medical notes as ‘spontaneous return of circulation’ and Mr Araujo is known as the ‘Miracle Man’ on the cardiac ward at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
Mr Araujo, from Linden, Gloucester, said: ‘It changed me. I give more value to all the things every day. Every single day.
‘I say thank you that I am alive, I say thank you that I have a job. I give more value to my family and my friends.
‘When I was at the hospital they had no explanation for my problem so people started calling me the ‘Miracle Man’.
Joao Araujo with daughter Maria Arujo (12) and Brazilian friend Jady Paratudo (11) at The Big Hug
‘Unlike everything else in the body below the eyes, they said that the brain is a mystery, it’s like a Pandora’s Box.
‘They did not have the knowledge to know the reason behind what happened. Doctors can’t believe I am alive without any damage in my heart, brain or body.’
Mr Araujo was in the car and about to pull off the driveway with wife Grazielle when his eyes rolled in towards the back of his head and his hands clenched rigidly around the wheel.
She grabbed his phone and wedged it in between his tongue and the roof of his mouth to prevent it going down his throat.
She screamed for help and a neighbour called for an ambulance.
Nurses were wheeling him from intensive care to the morgue at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital (pictured) when they noticed he was moving
Paramedics arrived and said he was suffering a cardiac arrest and rushed him to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
But after six hours of injections and failed attempts at CPR, doctors ruled there was nothing more they could do.
They pronounced Mr Araujo dead at 4pm on Saturday, April 18, 2009.
Doctors told his wife and children he was dead, who then phoned his parents in Portugal to tell them of the sad news.
But while his body was being moved from intensive care to the mortuary, nurses noticed movement.
Doctors told his distraught family that circulation had spontaneously returned to his heart.
They were told Mr Araujo, a lorry driver at the time, could be left permanently brain damaged due to a 21-minute lack of oxygen.
He remained in a coma for three days before waking up in his hospital bed to staff calling him ‘Miracle Man.’
Mr Araujo, from Linden, Gloucester, said: ‘It changed me. I give more value to all the things every day. Every single day’
Doctors moved him to a separate room but he remained confused and disorientated, continuously pressing the emergency button.
But two weeks later his condition miraculously improved and was sent to hospitals in Bristol and Oxford to help determine what had caused the episode.
With no prior history of heart problems and being in good shape for his age, doctors reached the conclusion that Mr Araujo’s brain had not sent the correct signal to his heart.
Medical notes about the episode state: ‘Out of hospital cardiac arrest with prolonged and unsuccessful attempt at CPR but with spontaneous return of circulation soon after CPR was discontinued.’
He was fitted with an Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) against his heart, which sends an electric shock through to his heart if it stops again.
The device also monitors his heart rate and sends readings back to the hospital.
Three weeks after the freak cardiac arrest Mr Araujo returned to work as a cleaner and continued to live a healthy lifestyle.
He said: ‘I remember my son and wife asked if I could carry on watching football – because I am crazy for football!’
Mr Araujo, now a postman who lives with his new partner, visits the cardiology ward every six months for a check-up and is still known by staff as the ‘Miracle Man’.
He said: ‘Every time I go back, the nurses and the people who work there go ‘The Miacle Man is back!’
‘Even people I don’t know or recognise from different areas of the hospital say ‘It’s the Miracle Man! Everybody knows you, you are famous!’
The postman has only had one issue with his heart since the attack in 2009.
In 2015, he collapsed while working as a delivery driver but continued a full day’s work before driving back home and visiting A&E.
Mr Araujo said: ‘The doctors said that I have too much energy. It doesn’t matter if I am in too much pain, I carry on.’
He has decided to share his experience ten years on, having previously told journalists he ‘didn’t want to be famous’.