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BY Francis Akhalbey, 12:30pm August 25, 2020,

‘They were about to embalm her’ – Woman pronounced dead found breathing at funeral home

Timesha Beauchamp, 20, was found to be breathing by staff at the James H. Cole funeral home after she was pronounced dead by paramedics. Photo: NY1.com

A 20-year-old Detroit woman with special needs who was pronounced dead by paramedics after she reportedly suffered a heart attack in her home was found to be breathing with her eyes open after she was later transported to a funeral home.

Speaking to WXYZ, family attorney Geoffrey Fieger said staff at the James H. Cole funeral home realized Timesha Beauchamp was still breathing when they were just about embalming her. An autopsy wasn’t carried out by the Oakland County Medical Examiner‘s office as they said the medical history of Beauchamp they received from Southfield Police showed there was no suspected foul play in her alleged passing.

“They were about to embalm her which is most frightening had she not had her eyes open. They would have begun draining her blood to be very, very frank about it,” Fieger said.

The incident happened on Sunday when paramedics from the Southfield Fire Department were called to attend to an unresponsive woman in a home. According to a statement released by the department, Beauchamp wasn’t breathing when they arrived and they tried reviving her. They, however, determined she was deceased after about 30 minutes.

“At 7:34 a.m. on August 23, 2020, Southfield Fire Department paramedics arrived at a home in Southfield on a call for an unresponsive female. When paramedics arrived, they found a 20-year-old who was not breathing. The paramedics performed CPR and other life reviving methods for 30 minutes. Given medical readings and the condition of the patient, it was determined at that time that she did not have signs of life,” the statement said, WDIV reports.

“Because there was no indication of foul play, as per standard operating procedure, the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office was contacted and given the medical data. The patient was again determined to have expired and the body was released directly to the family to make arrangements with a funeral home of their choosing.”

Upon arrival at the funeral home some hours later, staff realized Beauchamp was still breathing and subsequently called EMS.

“It’s one of people’s worst nightmares to imagine having an ambulance called and instead, sending you off to a funeral home in a body bag. The funeral home unzipping the body bag, literally, that’s what happened to Timesha, and seeing her alive with her eyes open,” Fieger told WXYZ, adding that Beauchamp’s godmother, who was present when she was being attended to and is a registered nurse, even told the paramedics she felt her pulse.

The attorney also says Beauchamp’s condition and recovery may be impacted by the hour and a half delay that occurred during her transportation to the funeral home instead of the hospital. Beauchamp has been admitted to the Sinai Grace Hospital and is on a ventilator in a critical condition.

“What did this delay do in terms of Timesha’s health for the rest of her life,” Fieger said.

The Southfield Fire Department released another statement on Monday after Oakland County officials asked for further clarification, WDIV reports.

“A local emergency department physician pronounced the patient deceased based upon medical information provided by the Southfield Fire Department at the scene,” the statement read.

“After which, the Southfield Police Department contacted the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office to notify them of the findings and the on-duty forensic pathologist released the body to the family. The Southfield Fire and Police Departments followed all appropriate city, county and state protocols and procedures in this case.

“The city of Southfield is currently conducting a thorough internal investigation in addition to the Oakland County Medical Control Authority which will be reporting their findings to the State of Michigan Bureau of EMS, Trauma and Preparedness. In an effort to provide as much transparency as possible, more information will be provided as it is available.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: August 25, 2020


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