Buffalo Area Doctor Sued for Declaring Living Man Dead
Man Declared Dead Show Signs of Life
46-year-old Michael Cleveland suffered a heart attack on October 10th and was rushed to DeGraff Memorial Hospital in Tonawanda. Dr. Gregory Perry told the wife, Tammy Cleveland, that he was unable to revive her husband and declared him dead at 8:29p.m.
Along with her daughter and stepson, Tammy went to see the body, but was shocked to see that her husband was still breathing.
“The doctor told me that it would appear like he was breathing, but he really wasn’t,” Tammy told the Democrat and Chronicle. She even claims he made an attempt to hug her.
Dr. Perry and other staff, upon listening to Tammy’s declaration of her husband still grasping onto life, refused to acknowledge the family’s cries.
“A part of me was thinking, [the doctor] should know what he's doing better than me,'” she said. “But he kept showing more and more signs, so we just kept trying to get help.”
Tammy was told that any movement the body may make was due to “life expelling out of his body”.
A coroner arrived to claim the body, told doctors that he would return when Michael Cleveland ceased showing signs of life.
Examiner Finds “Deceased” Man Still Has Pulse
Three hours past the original time of death, Dr. Perry caved in to Tammy’s pleas and checked for a pulse. It was his fourth time visiting the room that evening.
He exclaimed that the man indeed had a pulse, and rushed him to Buffalo General Medical Center to further his care.
On the way over, ambulance paramedics said that he was responsive and even tried to hold the hand of a member of staff.
Dr. William Morris concluded, after examination, that Cleveland’s ultimate death was not caused by the heart attack, but by the respiratory struggle from a collapsed lung. The CPR preformed following the attack broke a rib and punctured a lung.
Had his lung been treated right away, he likely would have lived.
The family’s attorney, Charles Burkwit stated that their actions “transcend the bounds of human decency and constitute shocking and outrageous conduct.”