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Ohio fire chief, assistant chief, medics on leave after accidentally declaring patient dead

Coroner’s staff arrived after the Springfield Township paramedics left the scene and found the woman trying to breathe

By Bill Carey

SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Two Springfield Township Fire Department paramedics as well as the fire chief and an assistant chief have all been placed on administrative leave after the paramedics mistakenly declared a patient dead.

On Jan. 2, the paramedics responded to a possible drug overdose. According to a letter sent to residents from Springfield Township Administrator Michael Hampton, the paramedics found a woman “lying unresponsive on the couch” with a “blue/grayish” skin color with “a large, aggressive pit-bull dog” at her side and “unwilling to move,” WTOL reported.

The paramedics and police officers tried unsuccessfully to lure the dog away. A dog warden later secured the dog 40 minutes later.

“The paramedics observed that the patient was cold and stiff,” Hampton’s letter stated. “They found no pulse, which led them to believe she was dead.” The paramedics contacted their supervising physician who walked them through multiple steps to confirm the woman was dead.

The paramedics left and when the coroner’s staff arrived, they reportedly observed that the patient appeared to be trying to breathe. They then gave the woman multiple doses of naloxone and started performing CPR on her. She was transported to the hospital, “where we believe she remains in intensive care,” Hampton stated.

An internal investigation conducted by the Springfield Township Board of Trustees’ legal counsel is underway.

[RELATED: ROSC after death: The Lazarus syndrome]