“I was holding her in my arms and as I prayed, I was feeling for a pulse and I did feel a pulse it was faint but I felt a pulse,” says Savannah Spears.
“The only thing I can say it was a miracle,” says Spears. “I know I felt a pulse. All I can say, it was a miracle.”
Spears is godmother to Timesha Beauchamp and also a nurse who was at the family's home in Southfield, Mich., when paramedics and police said the 20-year-old with cerebral palsy had died. They told loved ones that what her godmother said were signs of life were actually involuntary movements and just a result of the drugs that were administered during attempts to revive her.
On Sunday morning, Southfield Fire Department paramedics responded to a home for an unresponsive woman. When they arrived, the fire chief said, Beauchamp wasn't breathing. After standard efforts to revive her, first responders determined after about 30 minutes that she was deceased.
“Because there was no indication of foul play, as per standard operating procedure, the Oakland County Medical Examiner's Office was contacted and given the medical data. The patient was again determined to have expired and the body was released directly to the family to make arrangements with a funeral home of their choosing,” the chief said in a statement.
But Timesha was actually alive.
Hours later, staff at the James H. Cole funeral home realized Beauchamp was still breathing.
Family attorney Geoffrey Fieger says police and paramedics put Timesha in a body bag and it was almost four hours later at the funeral home when the body bag was unzipped and a worker saw Timesha's eyes were open and she was breathing.
“The embalmer was actually there and was the person who opened the body bag,” says Fieger.
“They felt for a pulse and they said they didn't feel one, so I just didn't argue with them, but I saw her breathing was light, had returned,” says Spears.
It is still unclear what led up to the call for the unresponsive woman.
Fieger says the 1.5-hour delay Beauchamp experienced because she was sent to the funeral home instead of the hospital may be critical to her recovery.
Timesha is in critical condition at Sinai Grace Hospital and is on a ventilator.
“A local emergency department physician pronounced the patient deceased based upon medical information provided by the Southfield Fire Department at the scene. Afterwards, the Southfield Police Department contacted the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office to notify them of the findings and the on-duty forensic pathologist released the body to the family. The Southfield Fire and Police Departments followed all appropriate city, county and state protocols and procedures in this case. The City of Southfield is currently conducting aninternal investigation, in addition to the Oakland County Medical Control Authority (OCMCA), which will be reporting its findings to the State of Michigan Bureau of EMS, Trauma and Preparedness (BETP). In an effort to provide as much transparency as possible, more information will be provided as it is available.”
A spokesman for the Oakland County Medical Examiner‘s office said they did not go to pick up the body for an autopsy based on information provided to them by Southfield Police about the woman’s medical history and that no foul play was suspected.