Two Florida paramedics may need a refresher after they pronounced a man dead who was very much alive — despite his daughter’s insistence that he was still breathing.
The two first responders with the Clearwater Fire & Rescue Department were sent to a home in Pinellas County last week where Thomas Maxwell was in cardiac arrest, WESH reported.
“His lips were blue and he was cold but I was doing CPR, and my friend was there and she was doing chest compressions,” his daughter Phebe Maxwell told WFLA.
“His chest was going up and down and he was making noises, so his lungs were working,” she said.
But the two paramedics quickly checked her 65-year-old dad’s pulse and said he was dead.
“I’m like, ‘He’s still breathing!’” Phebe told the outlet. “He’s like, ‘No, ma’am, he’s gone, those are just his body releasing gases.’”
A sheriff’s deputy who arrived to investigate the supposed death noticed that Maxwell was still breathing.
A Largo Fire Rescue crew then rushed him to the hospital.
About 28 minutes elapsed between the initial call and the arrival of the Largo crew, Clearwater Fire & Rescue told WFLA.
“Upon notification of this incident, we immediately removed both fire medics from their normal duties and discontinued their abilities to provide patient care, in conjunction with the county’s medical director,” Clearwater Fire Chief Scott Ehlers told WESH.
“On behalf of the city, I apologize for the actions and the inactions of our crew during this incident,” Ehlers said. “We have strict policies and procedures in place that were not followed, according to our preliminary review. These two did not perform to the standard of care that our citizens expect and deserve.”
The Pinellas County EMS Medical Director’s Office suspended the two paramedics, who were placed on administrative duty.
On Monday, Phebe said her dad remained in intensive care and was seeing a speech therapist.
“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 told WESH.