Wife Sues After Doctors Reportedly Declare Her Husband Dead Before Checking His Pulse

A widow who says her husband was alive for 100 minutes but was not treated is suing the doctors she says refused to help him.

Tammy Cleveland claims her husband Michael was alive for nearly two hours after a heart attack led him to be hospitalized. He was rushed to the DeGraff Memorial Hospital in Buffalo, New York, in October 2014, according to the Daily Mail.

The lawsuit indicates Michael was responsive and alive and Tammy tried to get him help, but the hospital's Dr. Gregory Perry insisted he was dead for 100 minutes before declaring he had a pulse.

"The doctor told me that it would appear like he was breathing, but he really wasn't," Cleveland told KSDK. "I said, 'But he's responding to me … He [tried] to hug me.'"

Michael was then transported to Buffalo General Medical Center. He reportedly tried to hold the hand of a paramedic in the ambulance and was moving his arms and legs. 

Dr. William Morris of Buffalo General Medical Center said Michael could have survived the heart attack were it not for a punctured lung he suffered during CPR. He died later that day.

"I'm wondering if he's having nightmares like I am. He's gotta have some kind of a conscience. I just want him to be sorry for what he did and not do it to anyone else again," Tammy said of Perry.

The company that owns both hospitals did not issue a comment on the matter.

Attorneys for the Cleveland family said the hospitals' actions "transcend the bounds of human decency and constitute shocking and outrageous conduct." The family is suing both hospitals and both doctors.

A study from the Journal of Patient Safety estimates 400,000 people die prematurely from malpractice or preventable harm each year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports accidents are the fourth leading cause of death in America, resulting in 130,557 deaths each year.

Sources: Daily Mail, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Journal of Patient Safety / Photo credit: Screenshot


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