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Woman declared dead open her eyes during embalmment

A 20-year-old woman from Detroit, USA, who had been pronounced dead, opened her eyes when funeral directors were about to embalm her body. So says the young woman’s lawyer. The local fire department is investigating how this could have happened.

“They had almost begun to draw her blood for the embalming,” attorney Geoffrey Fieger said in disgust to the local television station WXYZ-TV. He has been hired to assist Timesha Beauchamp’s family. The fire department, whose medical workers have declared the woman dead, confirms the bizarre incident.

After a phone call to the emergency center of the suspected family, doctors found the unconscious woman in her home on Sunday.

Beauchamp was not breathing. They tried to resuscitate her for thirty minutes and were in contact by phone with an emergency room doctor. That doctor declared Beauchamp dead “based on the medical information he received from the employees on the spot,” the fire department said in a statement.

“Since there were no other suspicious circumstances, standard procedure was followed, and the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office was contacted, who also declared the woman dead based on available medical information,” the chief of police said in a statement.

Eyes wide open

The woman’s body was then transferred to a funeral home. There, in the James H. Cole funeral home, the woman turned out to be still alive more than an hour later. “Our employees noticed that she was still breathing and immediately called the emergency services,” said the funeral home in response. Lawyer Fieger, in more detail: “They opened the body bag to embalm her and saw Timesha with her eyes wide open.”

Beauchamp’s condition, however, was terrible. She has been taken to hospital in a critical condition and is on a ventilator.

The family’s lawyer fears that the delay caused by Beauchamp’s death declaration and transfer to the funeral home may have an impact on her health for the rest of her life. “She did not end up in the hospital until an hour and a half later because of this.”

The fire department says all standard procedures have been followed. An internal investigation is being conducted to find out how things could have gone so wrong.

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