Awake at her funeral, had been wrongly declared dead


A young Michigan woman, who was pronounced dead last August only to be found alive at the funeral home hours later, finally died this week, the family’s attorney said.

The woman, Timesha Beauchamp, 20, died Sunday at Michigan Children’s Hospital in Detroit after about eight weeks in a coma, said Geoffrey Fieger, the attorney.

The ordeal began on August 23, when the victim’s family called 911 for help because Beauchamp, who was born with cerebral palsy, was having trouble breathing.

Four paramedics responded to the call and spent 30 minutes trying to resuscitate her, but Beauchamp showed no signs of life, explained Southfield Fire Department Chief Johnny L. Menifee, who dispatched paramedics to the home.

Paramedics then called an emergency department doctor, who pronounced Beauchamp dead based on information provided by phone, the Fire Department reported.

Later, Ms. Beauchamp was taken to the James H. Cole Funeral Home, where an employee preparing to embalm her body discovered that she was breathing and her eyes were open, Fieger reported. So she was transferred to the hospital and put on a ventilator, The New York Times reports.

“It’s really a terrible tragedy that should never have happened, and it’s some people’s nightmare,” Fieger said, adding that the matter was made worse by the fact that Beauchamp was disabled. “It happened to someone who couldn’t speak for herself.”


Counsel, Mr. Fieger, alleges that Ms. Beauchamp died as a result of “hypoxic brain damage,” which occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen. She was deprived of oxygen for four hours before arriving at a hospital, he added.

In a statement provided by Mr. Fieger, the family claims they were “devastated”.

“This is the second time our beloved Times has been pronounced dead,” the family said, “but this time she will not return.”

The family is suing the city of Southfield and the four paramedics for $ 50 million, Fieger said.

The Fire Department responded in a statement that the Southfield Police and Fire Departments “followed all appropriate city, county and state protocols and procedures in this case.”

The Fire Department also said that the Oakland County Medical Monitoring Authority, as well as the city, were conducting an investigation, the findings of which would be reported to the State of Michigan Office of E.M.S., Trauma and Preparedness.

The licenses of the four paramedics, two paramedic firefighters and two emergency medical technician firefighters were suspended by the state of Michigan because of the incident and the city has placed them on paid administrative leave, the Fire Department reported in August.

“Our condolences go out to the Beauchamp family. We have no further comment at this time due to pending litigation, “Southfield Mayor Kenson Siver wrote to the aforementioned newspaper.

Jocelyn K. Coley, spokesperson for the funeral home, “extends our sincere condolences to the family of Ms. Timesha Beauchamp.”


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