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Mich. woman wrongly declared dead in August dies

According to her family’s attorney, Timesha Beauchamp, 20, died in the hospital due to brain damage suffered in the August incident


Timesha Beauchamp, 20, shown here in an undated family photo with her brother Steven Thompson, died Sunday at Children’s Hospital in Detroit. Beauchamp was previously declared dead by Southfield EMTs and paramedics in August and later found alive at a funeral home.

Photo/Courtesy of Erica Lattimore through Fieger Law via AP

By Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

DETROIT — The Southfield young woman who was pronounced dead by paramedics and then found alive at a Detroit funeral home in August died Sunday, Geoffrey Fieger, her family’s attorney, said Monday.

Timesha Beauchamp, 20, “was allowed to die peacefully at Children’s Hospital, where she had been transferred from Sinai Grace Hospital,” Fieger said. She died as a result of massive brain damage that was suffered when Southfield paramedics “wrongly declared her dead, and failed to provide her much needed oxygen,” he said.

Beauchamp was in a body bag for at least two hours before being found alive by workers at the funeral home on Aug. 23, according to Fieger.

“The embalmer for the funeral home, unzipped the body bag and saw Timesha with her eyes open, her chest moving up and down, and gasping for air,” according to the lawsuit.

“Our whole family is devastated,” Beauchamp’s family said in a statement Monday. “This is the second time our beloved Timesha has been pronounced dead — but this time, she isn’t coming back.”

Beauchamp had been pronounced dead by paramedics who responded to an emergency dispatch call around 7:35 a.m. Aug. 23 of an unresponsive woman at her Southfield residence.

Paramedics reportedly worked to revive Beauchamp for 30 minutes and pronounced her dead when she did not respond. She was officially declared dead by a Providence Hospital doctor who relied on information given by the paramedics.

Despite concerns expressed twice by Beauchamp’s family members that she appeared to be breathing and had a pulse, relatives were told that was normal and was a result of medication.

Beauchamp, who had cerebral palsy, was taken to the funeral home in Detroit, where a worker noticed she was alive. There, according to a Southfield Police report, “while they were picking up the body they noticed the patient’s chest moving ... the chest was rising and falling very fast and the patient gasped ....”

Beauchamp was taken from the funeral home to Sinai-Grace Hospital in Detroit. Reports indicated first responders failed to recognize that when the young woman was placed on a monitor 13 minutes after they discontinued CPR, it indicated she was not deceased.

Fieger has filed a $50 million lawsuit against the city of Southfield and four of the city’s paramedics. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and names the City of Southfield and four city employees as defendants: Michael Storms, Scott Rickard, Phillip Mulligan and Jake Kroll.

The professional licenses of the paramedics were suspended by the State of Michigan. They were put on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into the incident, city of Southfield officials said.

In response, the four emergency medical technicians and paramedics have filed a lawsuit against state and local officials, alleging their medical licenses were suspended without due process.

Efforts to reach Southfield officials for comment on Beauchamp’s death were not immediately successful Monday afternoon.


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