In Southfield, Michigan, a woman was wrongfully declared dead, eventually leading to her death and the family’s subsequent lawsuit against the city and the responders at the scene.
Wrongfully Declared Dead Woman Discovered Alive at Funeral Home
20-year-old Timesha Beauchamp passed away in October following severe brain damage, which allegedly resulted from first responders wrongfully declaring her dead after finding her unresponsive at home in August. Beauchamp had cerebral palsy.
Beauchamp’s family discovered her unconscious in their home and called emergency services. A team of four first responders attempted to revive Beauchamp with CPR before ceasing and declaring her dead at the scene.
According to the lawsuit, Beauchamp’s family requested the responders to return to the scene after declaring her dead. Using a monitor, it was apparently clear that electrical activity indicated that Timesha was still alive. As a result of her wrongfully declared death, the family claims that she suffered hypoxic brain damage, pain and suffering, and acute hypoxemic respiratory failure resulting from pulmonary arrest.
Beauchamp was later taken to a funeral home, where staff discovered that she was still breathing. In October, Beauchamp died due to the complications resulting from her condition. Afterward, the family claimed that Beauchamp’s wrongfully declared death led to inadequate medical care, causing her death.
The Fire Station’s Response
The responders were from the Southfield Fire Department. The department’s Fire Chief Johnny Menifee stated that the paramedics administered CPR and other procedures in an attempt to save Beauchamp’s life for approximately half an hour.
While treating Beauchamp, Menifee stated that the Southfield Police Department also arrived at the Beauchamp home. He also states that while one of the victim’s family members claimed to have heard her breathing after paramedics declared her dead, the paramedics reassessed her but found no signs of life.
After a family member reported that she felt a pulse, paramedics performed a third assessment and still failed to identify signs of life. After this final assessment, a local emergency department physician officially pronounced Beauchamp dead.
According to the complaint against the city and responders, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services placed the first responders on leave and suspended their licenses. A law firm representing the responders filed a separate complaint requesting the reinstatement of their licenses.
Wrongful death cases such as this one are rare. Still, a wrongfully declared death can be devastating for victims and their families.