Michigan Woman, 20, Dies After Being Incorrectly Pronounced Dead and Discovered Alive at Funeral Home

Timesha Beauchamp
FIEGER LAW

The 20-year-old Michigan woman who was pronounced dead by a doctor who was not on the scene only to be discovered alive at the funeral home, has died, her family's lawyer said. Timesha Beauchamp, who was 20-years-old with cerebral palsy, died Sunday at the Children's Hospital of Michigan Detroit after about eight weeks in a coma, Geoffrey Fieger, the family's lawyer said in a statement. The family is suing the city and the first responders $50 million, the family's lawyers said.

Timesha's family called an ambulance on Aug. 23 around 7:30 a.m. when she appeared to have trouble breathing, according to the suit. Four emergency medical technicians and paramedics arrived at their Southfield home and one of the first responders telecommunicated with a doctor at Southfield hospital that she had been unresponsive for 30 minutes and showed no signs of life, the Chief Johnny L. Menifee of the Southfield Fire Department told reporters in August. 

With the information provided on the phone, the physician pronounced Timesha dead, the Fire Department wrote in a statement Aug. 24. In the same statement, the department said that the Oakland County Medical Control Authority and the City of Southfield were conducting an internal investigation.

Timesha was taken to the hospital an hour later when a worker preparing to embalm her at the James H. Cole Funeral Home in Detroit discovered her "with her eyes open, her chest moving up and down, and gasping for air," according to the lawsuit filed by Timesha's family. The state said that the funeral staff saw her chest moving earlier when they picked up the body at her home. She was then taken to the hospital and put on a ventilator.

Timesha's family filed a federal lawsuit Oct. 8 against the Michigan city and four of its first responders, according to court documents. At the time the lawsuit was filed, Beauchamp was still in critical condition. 

In another statement released Aug. 28, the Fire Department wrote that the state of Michigan suspended the licenses of two of the paramedics and served two letters of intent to suspend the licenses of two of the EMTs. All four have been placed on paid administrative leave from the city pending the results of the investigation. 

Timesha was placed in a body bag and "left without oxygen for 4 hours, suffering hypoxic brain damage," Fieger said in a press release announcing the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Detroit. "All of this could have been avoided, had more care been taken," Fieger said.

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

Neither The City of Southfield nor The Southfield Fired Department responded to our request for comment. The Oakland County Medical Control Authority (OCMCA) told Inside Edition Digital they “do not comment on our investigations.”

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