Mich. EMS providers in case of 'dead' woman found alive file lawsuit

The Southfield Fire Department paramedics and EMTs are suing to keep their licenses from being suspended after the incident


The Lazarus syndrome is the return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) after CPR has been stopped. Although rare, it’s possible that you have already seen or will experience this phenomenon during your EMS career. Learn more about the physiology behind the Lazarus syndrome and how to confirm death with this analysis by Marianne Meyers.

Associated Press

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. — Emergency medical technicians and paramedics who were present when a Detroit-area woman was determined to be dead, only to be declared alive later at a funeral home, are suing to stop their licenses from being suspended.

Michael Storms, Scott Rickard, Phillip Mulligan and Jake Kroll, who all work for the city of Southfield, filed their lawsuit in federal court on Tuesday, The Detroit News reported.

Southfield Fire Chief Johnny Menifree held a press conference in August saying four EMS providers at the scene where Timesha Beauchamp was declared dead, before later being found alive, were placed on leave pending the department's investigation. (AP Photo/Ed White)
Southfield Fire Chief Johnny Menifree held a press conference in August saying four EMS providers at the scene where Timesha Beauchamp was declared dead, before later being found alive, were placed on leave pending the department's investigation. (AP Photo/Ed White)

The four responded Aug. 23 to a report of an unresponsive woman at a home. Timesha Beauchamp has cerebral palsy and her family called 911 because of what appeared to be serious breathing problems.

A doctor at a Southfield hospital who didn't attend the scene pronounced Beauchamp deceased after Storms reported by telephone that she had been unresponsive for 30 minutes and showed no signs of life.

Beauchamp wasn’t taken to a hospital until Cole Funeral Home in Detroit called 911 hours later. Funeral home staff actually saw her chest moving earlier when they picked up the body at the Southfield home, according to the state.

But Beauchamp’s family said they were assured by the medical crew that she was dead.

She was taken from the funeral home to a Detroit hospital and remains in critical condition. The family’s attorney, Geoffrey Fieger, has said only her brain stem is functioning.

A state license suspension filed against Storms said he repeatedly failed to recognize that Beauchamp was alive and that he misled a doctor by phone about her condition.

The state’s Health and Human Services department, the Oakland County Medical Control Authority, executives, doctors and others are named in the lawsuit.

The Health and Human Services Department oversees licensing. Spokesman Bob Wheaton told the newspaper that the agency does not discuss pending litigation.

A date for a formal hearing on the licenses has yet to be determined.

Southfield Fire Chief Johnny Menifee has said the city is investigating. He told reporters in late August that Beauchamp might be alive because of “Lazarus syndrome,” a reference to people who come back to life without assistance after attempts to resuscitate have failed.

Associated Press
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