Attorney Geoffrey Fieger said Thursday he has filed a $50 million lawsuit against the city of Southfield, Mich., and four of its paramedics on behalf of a woman who was declared dead and left at a Detroit funeral home for hours before anyone realized she was still alive.
Fieger said he filed the suit Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The suit names the city and four city employees, Michael Storms, Scott Rickard, Phillip Mulligan and Jake Kroll.
The woman, Timesha Beauchamp, 20, was in a body bag for at least two hours before being found alive by workers at the funeral home on Aug. 23, according to the attorney.
"The State of Michigan has suspended the licenses of the EMS employees involved," Feiger said in a Thursday statement.
"All the telemetry evidence shows that Timesha was alive when EMS declared her dead," he said. " As a result of being declared dead, she was left without oxygen for four hours, suffering severe hypoxic brain damage. Timesha has been hospitalized since these events and remains in critical condition. All of this could have been avoided had more care been taken."
He said the suit alleges Beauchamp's civil rights were violated. He also said a state complaint will be filed.
Officials said the Southfield Fire Department responded to a call about 7:35 a.m. Aug. 23 for an unresponsive woman, Beauchamp, at a home in the city.
Four paramedic-firefighters treated the woman, who has cerebral palsy. The medics tried lifesaving efforts on the woman for about 30 minutes but she did not respond.
A Providence Hospital doctor pronounced her dead after one of the responders made a telephone report she had been unresponsive and showed no signs of life.
Beauchamp was then taken to a funeral home on Schaefer in Detroit. Workers there noticed "the patient's chest moving ... the chest was rising and falling very fast and the patient gasped ... while they were picking up the body." One of the workers called 911.
Beauchamp has since been hospitalized and her family retained Fieger to investigate possible negligence by authorities at the scene.