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Timesha Beauchamp was discovered alive when funeral home staff opened her body bag to begin embalming.
Disturbing details have emerged regarding the case of a Southfield woman with cerebral palsy who had been thought to be dead after being found unresponsive in her home — only to be discovered alive, breathing, and with her eyes open in a body bag at a Detroit funeral home hours later.
Timesha Beauchamp, 20, is in critical condition after suffering a medical emergency and, instead of being transported to a hospital, was falsely pronounced dead by paramedics despite showing signs of life.
License suspension documents obtained by The Associated Press
reveal that Michael Storms, a paramedic and firefighter with the Southfield Fire Department, had “misled” doctors about Beauchamp's condition. Storms was one of four emergency response professionals on the scene and he, along with Scott Rickard, another EMT had their licenses suspended by the state last week.
The Southfield fire chief, Johnny Menifee said he is “seeking the truth in what happened.”
“We’re looking at everything here,”he said. “This is a terrible thing that’s happened. This is tragic.”
Menifee had originally believed that Beauchamp's situation could be attributed to a medical phenomenon referred to as "Lazarus syndrome," or the return of spontaneous circulation that can occur after a patient suffers cardiac arrest and is declared dead after CPR or other life-saving methods have failed.
However, the documents from the health department tell a different story.
According to the report, Storms had pre-maturely stopped resuscitation efforts a whole six minutes before getting verification from a doctor via a phone call. When Storms did
talk to a doctor, he gave inaccurate vital signs and other physical descriptions. The report also states that he did not use a stethoscope to determine circulation or signs of respiration at any time during the evaluation.
The family had alerted Storms at least twice during their visit when they witnessed Beauchamp breathing and, when checked by family, still had a pulse. At one point, Storms used a monitor that clearly showed she was still alive, yet no action was taken. Storms also assured the family that the rise and fall of her chest that they had witnessed was a result of Beauchamp's medication.
The state also says that Storms altered his report when it was uploaded to the incident database a second time.
Beauchamp spent “at least” two hours in a body bag before being discovered alive by staff at the James H. Cole Funeral Home in Detroit just as they were preparing to embalm her. The staff immediately called the authorities, at which point Beauchamp was transported to Sinai Grace Hospital with a heart rate of 80 beats per minute, which is within the range of an average resting heart rate for an adult.
As of last week, Beauchamp had been placed on a ventilator. She remains in critical condition.
The incident is under investigation.
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