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  1. ITV Report

Gloucester postman dead for 21 minutes starts breathing on way to morgue

Joao Araujo was clinically dead for 21 minutes.

A Gloucestershire postman has been described as a "miracle man" when he came back to life - 21 minutes after being declared dead.

Ten years ago, Joao Araujo suffered a cardiac arrest while waiting to give his wife a lift to work.

The 48-year-old was rushed to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, where medical staff spent six hours trying to revive him.

After their attempts had seemingly failed, Mr Araujo was declared dead at approximately 4pm on Saturday, April 18, 2009.

His wife and children were told of the news, as were his parents in Portugal.

Joao Araujo with daughter Maria Arujo (12) and Brazilian friend Jady Paratudo (11).

But, as nurses were transporting Mr Araujo's body to the mortuary, they noticed some movement - 21 minutes after he had ‘died’.

Doctors subsequently discovered Mr Araujo had a pulse, and he was placed in a coma for three days.

When he finally came round, he learned staff on the cardiology ward had given him a new name.

When I was at the hospital, they had no explanation for my problem so people started calling me the 'Miracle Man'.

– Mr Araujo

Following his revival, Mr Araujo struggled to come to terms with his surroundings.

He was confused about why he was in the hospital, telling visitors and staff he merely had a throat problem.

Joao Araujo, Gloucester postman, who died and came back to life.

He also failed to recognise his best friend, who visited regularly.

Doctors believed the time Mr Araujo had spent clinically dead, when his brain was starved of oxygen, was responsible for the confusion.

It wasn’t until his second week in hospital that Mr Araujo’s condition started to improve.

When he regained his wits, Dr Petersen sent him to hospitals in Bristol and Oxford to determine what had caused his attack and ultimate resurgence.

A letter from Joao Araujo's doctor diagnosing the event.

A panel of seven doctors told Mr Araujo that there was no explanation as he had no prior history of heart problems and was in good shape for his age.

Nevertheless, the most popular theory was that his brain had not sent the correct signal to his heart.

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.

– Mr Araujo

Within three weeks of the attack, Mr Araujo was back at work. He had been working as a lorry driver but had his driving licence stripped for a year, so the Cheltenham company Clean (named Paragon at the time) employed him in their factory.

Incredibly, this was not the first time Mr Araujo had made a miraculous recovery.

In 2005, he had a crash in Cuenca, Spain, which left him with a broken femur, pelvis, four ribs and shoulder blade.

He also suffered 90 per cent blood loss, damaging his pancreas and liver.

Mr Araujo presenting the marks left by the operation to insert his ICD box.

Mr Araujo is now a local postman and lives with his family and a new partner in Linden, Gloucester.

He visits the cardiology ward every six months for a check-up and is still known by the staff as the ‘Miracle Man’.

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.

– Mr Araujo