France may have to reconsider its medical definition of death after a heart-attack victim came alive in the operating theatre as doctors were about to remove his organs for transplant.
The patient, whose identity has not been revealed, recovered after a long period in intensive care and is now able to walk and talk.
The 45-year-old man owes his life to the fact that surgeons authorised to remove organs for transplant operations were not immediately available. Under experimental rules adopted in France last year, to make more organ transplants possible, the man had already reached the point where he could be officially regarded as dead. Similar rules – allowing the removal of organs when a patient's heart has stopped and fails to respond to prolonged massage – already apply in several other European countries, including Britain.