A young Michigan woman who was pronounced dead in August, only to be found alive at a funeral home hours later, has died, her family’s lawyer said.
The woman, Timesha Beauchamp, 20, died on Sunday at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit after about eight weeks in a coma, said Geoffrey Fieger, the lawyer.
Ms. Beauchamp’s ordeal began on Aug. 23, when her family called 911 for help at their home in Southfield, Mich., because Ms. Beauchamp, who was born with cerebral palsy, was having trouble breathing.
Four paramedics responded to the call and spent 30 minutes trying to revive her, but Ms. Beauchamp did not show signs of life, Chief Johnny L. Menifee of the Southfield Fire Department, which sent the paramedics, said at a news conference in August.
The paramedics then called an emergency department physician, who pronounced Ms. Beauchamp dead based on information provided over the phone, the Fire Department said.
Later, Ms. Beauchamp was taken to the James H. Cole Home for Funerals, where an employee preparing to embalm her body discovered that she was breathing and had her eyes open, Mr. Fieger said. Only then was she transported to the hospital and put on a ventilator.
“It’s really a terrible tragedy that should never have occurred, and it’s some people’s nightmare,” Mr. Fieger said, adding that the matter was made worse by the fact that Ms. Beauchamp was disabled. “It happened to somebody who couldn’t speak up for herself.”
Mr. Fieger said Ms. Beauchamp died as a result of “hypoxic brain damage,” which happens when the brain is deprived of oxygen. She was deprived of oxygen for four hours before getting to a hospital, he added.
In a statement provided by Mr. Fieger, the family said it was “devastated.”
“This is the second time our beloved Timesha has been pronounced dead,” the family said, “but this time she isn’t coming back.”
The family is suing the City of Southfield and the four paramedics for $50 million, Mr. Fieger said.
The Fire Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday evening, but said in a statement in August that the Southfield Fire and Police Departments “followed all appropriate city, county and state protocols and procedures in this case.”
The Fire Department also said that the Oakland County Medical Control Authority as well as the city were conducting an investigation, the findings of which would be reported to the State of Michigan Bureau of E.M.S., Trauma and Preparedness.
The licenses of the four paramedics, two firefighter paramedics and two firefighter emergency medical technicians were suspended by the State of Michigan as a result of the episode, and they have been placed on paid administrative leave by the city, the Fire Department said in August.
Calls and emails to the Oakland County Medical Control Authority and the Southfield Police Department on Monday were not immediately returned.
The mayor of Southfield, Kenson Siver, said Monday in an email: “Our sympathies go out to the Beauchamp Family. We have no further comment at this time due to pending litigation.”
Jocelyn K. Coley, a spokeswoman for the funeral home, said the home “extends our most sincere condolences to the family of Ms. Timesha Beauchamp.”