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Florida man found breathing after two paramedics declared him dead and left the scene

Image Source: WFLA-TV YouTube video screenshot composite

A man was found with a pulse and breathing after two paramedics declared him dead, and his family is understandably outraged.

Phebe Maxwell told WFLA-TV that paramedics ignored her pleading about her father, Thomas Maxwell, and left after pronouncing him dead.

Paramedics responded to a call of a cardiac arrest in Pinellas County on Wednesday. Maxwell said that they quickly checked her father's wrist for a pulse and then told her he had died.

“His lips were blue and he was cold but I was doing CPR, and my friend was there and she was doing chest compressions,” said the daughter. “His chest was going up and down and he was making noises, so his lungs were working.”

She said that she told them that her father was still breathing, but they denied it.

"No ma’am, he’s gone, those are just his body releasing gases," she recalled them telling her.

After they left, a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office deputy who had gone to investigate found that the deceased man had a pulse and was breathing, just as the daughter said.

The man was immediately rushed to emergency care.

Chief Scott Ehlers of the Clearwater Fire Department issued a statement of apology to the family.

"On behalf of the city, I apologize for the actions and the inactions of our crew during the incident. We have strict policies and procedures in place that were not followed, according to our preliminary review," said Ehlers. "These two did not perform to the standard of care that our citizens expect and deserve.”

The two paramedics were placed on administrative duty and were clinically suspended as the investigation continues.

Maxwell said that her father is in intensive care, and she's afraid he might have suffered long-lasting effects from the delayed response to his cardiac arrest.

“I’m frustrated, hurt and mad. I don’t know what this is going to do to my dad. I don’t know what kind of life he’s going to have now,” she added.

This is the third such incident in the last few months.

An Iowa woman gasped for breath from her body bag after she had been declared dead and sent to a funeral home and crematorium. She was hospitalized and died two days later surrounded by her family.

In a second instance from Long Island, New York, an 82-year-old woman was found to be breathing after being pronounced dead and sent to a funeral home. Her condition was not released due to privacy concerns.

Here's a local news report about the incident:

Clearwater medics disciplined after ‘dead’ patient found to be breathingwww.youtube.com

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