(CNN Newsource) — A Michigan woman is fighting for her life after a doctor declared her dead without observing her in person. She woke up hours later in a body bag.
Detroit Fire Department medics were called to Cole Funeral Home. What they found inside was so shocking, so sensitive, they asked for police. They also asked to keep the disturbing details off of the radio.
“I will give you a call via phone and let you know what we have here,” a medic can be heard saying in a radio recording.
Timesha Beauchamp, 20, wasn’t dead, she was alive – her eyes were open and she was breathing.
Four hours earlier, Beauchamp was home in Southfield in cardiac arrest. Southfield Fire and EMS worked on her for 30 minutes and then told her mother she was gone.
“They said, ‘Ma’am she’s gone,’ said her mother Erica Lattimore. “And I told them ‘Are you absolutely 100% sure that she’s gone?’ They said, ‘Yes ma’am. Yes, ma’am, she’s gone.'”
Sources say those medics communicated the data they had on the daughter to an ER doctor at Ascension Providence Hospital, who then declared the daughter was dead.
Medics called the Oakland County Medical Examiners Office. With no foul play involved, the body was released to the family, then to Cole Funeral Home.
Just before noon, her mother got a call from a staff member at Cole.
“The lady said ‘Ma’am your daughter is on her way to Sinai Grace Hospital. She’s breathing, she’s alive. Your daughter is breathing,'” Lattimore recalled. “I said ‘What do you mean? What do you mean she’s breathing?’ Somebody pronounced my child dead and she’s not even dead.”
Lattimore added, “I’m devastated that my daughter is going through what she’s going through.”
Four firefighters are now on paid leave, CNN reports, as Beauchamp, who has cerebral palsy, fights for her life in a hospital ICU, according to family attorney Geoffrey Fieger.
Southfield Fire Chief Johnny Menifee called the incident “unsettling” but didn’t initially blame his paramedics. “There’s evidence out there that this sort of thing has happened before,” Menifee said.
The fire department maintains that Beauchamp was unresponsive and not breathing when paramedics arrived, and still showed no signs of life after 30 minutes of efforts to resuscitate her. The fire department relayed what had happened to a doctor at a local hospital.
Menifee said a family member told paramedics at one point that Beauchamp was breathing, and they “immediately grabbed their equipment and went in and reassessed her,” but “at no time did they find her breathing.”
As firefighters again prepared to leave, a family member told a Southfield police officer that they thought they felt a heartbeat, CNN reports. Once again, paramedics tried and failed to find any sign of life.
Based on information relayed by responders at the scene, an emergency room physician pronounced Beauchamp dead, according to the Southfield Fire Dept. Southfield police also informed the local medical examiner and Beauchamp’s body was taken to the funeral home.
The Southfield Fire Department and Oakland County Medical Control Authority have opened an investigation into the incident.