Lisbon - A 95-year-old man was moved from a hospital mortuary to a care unit after he was heard coughing several hours after a doctor had declared him dead, Portuguese media reported.

Family members called an ambulance to bring Manuel Lino to a public hospital in the town of Abrantes, about 120km north-east of Lisbon, on December 1 because he was not feeling well, daily Jornal de Noticias reported on Thursday.

When Lino arrived at the hospital the doctor who examined him inside the ambulance said he could not find a pulse and ordered his body sent to the mortuary, it added.

"With great pain we left him there and returned home where we started preparing for the funeral," Lino's a relative, Joao Baco, explained.

Later that same day the family received a telephone call from an emergency services worker informing them that Lino was alive after all.

Lino, who had been bedridden before being taken to the hospital, was discharged on December 7 and spent Christmas with his family, Baco said.

Hospital officials said they had opened an inquiry into the incident.