Planning a funeral for a loved one is one of the hardest things you will do during your life. Ningappa and Manjula Marewad can certainly attest to that, as they organized a ceremony for their 17-year-old son Kumar in February 2017. However, on their way to the funeral, the teenager’s family made a shocking discovery.
Residents of Karnataka, India, Ningappa and Manjula are laborers, with Kumar attending school until he reached class nine, the first year of his secondary education. At that point, he decided to quit school to help support his parents and his physically challenged older brother, becoming a construction laborer.
However, everything changed for the Marewad family in January 2017. A stray dog bit Kumar at that time, which led to the outbreak of a fever. Despite being vaccinated after the bite, the 17-year-old then became seriously ill and required urgent hospital treatment. He was subsequently hooked up to a ventilator, but the bad news didn’t end there.
According to his doctors, Kumar was suffering from an infection that had spread throughout his body, leaving him in a critical condition. As a result of that, the teenager’s chances of survival were incredibly slim if he came off the ventilator. With that in mind, the hospital staff gave his family a heartbreaking choice.
If they were willing, Kumar’s treatment would carry on at the hospital. However, the family decided against it, opting to take the 17-year-old home instead. Upon his return, his loved ones kept watch over him, but before long, Kumar’s struggle appeared to come to an end.
Kumar’s breathing seemed to have ceased, while his body also showed no signs of movement, leading his family to presume that he passed away. Soon after, the Marewads asked the locals living in Managundi Village, located in the district of Dharwad, to help organize his funeral. A Hindu ceremony is usually arranged no later than 24 hours after a person’s death.
With the arrangements in place, the family then transported Kumar to his funeral in February 2017. However, things took a dramatic turn just a mile outside Managundi Village, where the teenager’s last rites would be performed. Kumar’s eyes suddenly opened, and his body started to flail around, much to his family’s shock.
Unsurprisingly, the 17-year-old was quickly taken to a hospital in a nearby town, where he was immediately placed in the ICU. Doctors treated Kumar for meningoencephalitis, an inflammation caused by a viral infection that affects the brain. Not long after his admittance, though, doctors decided that he no longer needed the ventilator.
On February 21, 2017, Kumar’s brother-in-law Sharanappa Naikar decided to set up a Milaap page for the 17-year-old. Similar to GoFundMe, Milaap is the largest crowdfunding website in India, with Naikar looking to raise 150,000 rupees (the equivalent of about $2,000) to help with treatment costs.
With the teenager back in hospital, his brother-in-law reflected on what had happened before that, offering a detailed account of Kumar’s health before his apparent death. “He was treated for the dog bite,” Naikar wrote on Milaap in February 2017. “The doctor gave him antibiotics.”
“Even after the wound healed, he had trouble during urination and sometimes for a bowel movement,” Naikar continued. “They said he was dehydrated, so we admitted him. We kept shifting hospitals when his condition kept deteriorating. Kumar was in the MICU where he went into a coma.”
From there, Naikar then spoke of that crucial moment when the Marewads needed to decide what to do with Kumar. “The main doctor in SDM told us it is better to take him home, as he will die if we disconnect him from the ventilator,” he added.
While what happened with Kumar was incredibly unusual, it has happened before. Indeed, back in October 2015, doctors declared an unconscious man in Mumbai, India, dead after him being found at a bus stop. His body was transported to the morgue at Sion Hospital, but just ahead of his autopsy, a staff member discovered that he was still breathing.
Meanwhile, a similar incident to Kumar’s occurred in Egypt back in May 2012. Hamdi Hafez al-Nubi was a 28-year-old waiter who suffered a heart attack at work, with hospital staff pronouncing him dead soon after. However, as his family prepared to bury him, a doctor discovered that al-Nubi’s body was still warm, prompting her to check him over.
After taking a closer look, the doctor revealed that al-Nubi was still alive, turning the funeral into an unexpected celebration. She helped wake the 28-year-old up, while his mother also needed reviving after she fainted hearing the news. Ironically, the physician was only there to sign his death certificate before making her incredible discovery.
Unfortunately for the Marewads, though, Kumar’s story didn’t have a similarly happy ending to that of the Egyptian waiter. In March 2017 Naikar updated the teenager’s Milaap page with a message via “Team Milaap.” Sadly, it was to deliver some heartbreaking news.
“Sharanappa Naikar, Marewad’s brother-in-law, informed us that Marewad passed away on Monday night (March 6, 2017),” Team Milaap wrote. “Kumar Marewad did not wake up from the coma. Doctors tried their best to save him, but the infection had spread to his brain.”
“Funds raised have been transferred to the family to help settle the hospital bills,” Team Milaap continued. “Our hearts go out to this brave teenager who endured so much pain and fought so hard for his life. Your timely support ensured that he received the best medical care possible.”
From there, Team Milaap then offered some words from the teenager’s loved ones, who greatly appreciated the donations for his treatment. “Kumar’s family is most grateful for all the care and support that you have shown him,” they added. “The past month was the most difficult one for the family. We hope they find strength in this time of grief.”
In February 2017 Ningappa and Manjula Marewad faced the hardest day of their lives as they prepared for their son Kumar’s funeral. But that all changed when he woke up. And while the teenager passed away in the next month, the family won’t forget the financial and emotional support that they received.