Michigan officials agreed to reinstate the licenses of two paramedics who allegedly erroneously pronounced a woman dead if they pass a national medical exam.
The Associated Press obtained documents that detailed the state health department’s settlement with suspended Southfield Fire Department paramedics Michael Storms and Scott Rickard.
In addition to passing the national exam, Storms must also read “People Care: Perspective and Practices for Professional Caregivers” and complete a three-page paper about what he has learned.
On August 23, Timesha Beauchamp, who has cerebral palsy, reportedly suffered a seizure and was pronounced dead after paramedics tried to revive her for 30 minutes.
Hours after Beauchamp’s body was released and her family made funeral arrangements, the staff at James H. Cole funeral home discovered the woman was breathing.
The medical examiner reportedly authorized the release of Beauchamp’s body without an autopsy based on police’s claims regarding her medical history. Police said there was no evidence Beauchamp was the victim of foul play.
The family’s lawyer, Geoffrey Fieger, claimed police or paramedics placed Beauchamp in a body bag. Fieger said Beauchamp was about to be embalmed when the funeral home staff realized she was still alive.
On at least two instances, Beauchamp’s relatives allegedly alerted fire crews that she was still breathing.
Further, Southfield police reportedly saw Beauchamp moving and breathing and called crews back, but crews claimed the movements were caused by the medication they gave her while attempting to save her life.
Southfield Fire Chief Johnny Menifee denied claims that paramedics put Beauchamp in a body bag, noting paramedics do not carry them. He also disputed allegations that paramedics did not contact a doctor or the Oakland County Medical Examiner.
The Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office said the fire department contacted them after consulting an emergency room doctor who pronounced Beauchamp deceased.
Menifree suggested Beauchamp may have experienced Lazarus syndrome, which a 2007 research paper describes as a “delayed return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) after cessation of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).”
Despite this, four medics were suspended a day after the August 23 incident. Officials admonished Storms for repeatedly failing to acknowledge Beauchamp was alive and misleading a doctor about her vital signs — which they alleged “clearly showed” activity, according to the Associated Press.
Fieger previously said the 1.5-hour delay in taking Beauchamp to the funeral home instead of the hospital may jeopardize her recovery. Beauchamp died about eight weeks later. She was reportedly on a respirator before her death.
Storms and Rickard also work as firefighters. The news outlet reported that Storms will have three opportunities to get a passing grade on his paper.
Beauchamp’s family has a pending $50 million lawsuit against Southfield EMS Paramedics.
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[Featured image: Timesha Beauchamp/WXYZ]