In March 2015, he developed large kidney stones that led to septic poisoning, according to court documents.
Schreiber's lawyer then took the case to the appeals court, which ruled Wednesday that the convict couldn't have it both ways.
However the Iowa Court of Appeals was unmoved by Benjamin Schreiber's bid for freedom ruling that the argument - however original - was "unpersuasive".
After he was rushed unconscious to a hospital, doctors had to revive the "dead" man five times.
Schreiber was convicted of murder in 1997 and sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole in the death of a man beaten to death with an ax handle.
Three years later, Schreiber filed for post-conviction relief, claiming that his momentary death in the hospital constituted the end of his life sentence and that he was being imprisoned illegally and should be immediately released.
But the 66-year-old claims that episode should be enough to fulfill his life sentence, since his life technically ended before it began again.
A district court previously denied Schreiber's motion. In an opinion published Wednesday, the panel of judges didn't attempt to reckon with the spiritual or medical definition of "death", a philosophical question that has generated intense legal wrangling and complex debates over medical ethics elsewhere. It's unclear whether Schreiber plans to take the case to a higher court. According to court records obtained by the Des Moines Register, hospital staffers made the decision after conferring with Schreiber's brother, who only consented to giving him medicine to ease his pain.
Adding a nail to Schreiber's legal coffin, the court said the sentence he is serving in the Iowa State Penitentiary will not end until a medical examiner declares him dead.
Schreiber's attorney has not commented on what his client wants to do next.