Man Declared Dead Twice in Four Days
FL – A 70-year-old Fort Myers man was pronounced dead by EMS, but then woke up when the mortician arrived – only to die again four days later. The man’s family says if paramedics had taken him to the hospital right away, he could still be alive.
Michael Tarver explained that a few weeks ago his father, 70-year-old Leroy Tarver, collapsed on the floor of their Fort Myers home with chest pains.
They called 9-1-1 and EMS came to help.
“After they dragged him from behind the bed, they started working on him,” Michael described.
A Fort Myers Police report shows that paramedics initiated CPR and tried to resuscitate Leroy. But he was pronounced dead about 30 minutes after the 9-1-1 call.
“When they got through, they said, ?He’s dead,” said Michael.
The family says Leroy was covered with a sheet while they waited for Mortician Horace Barrett to arrive.
Barrett says he will never forget that day when the body began twitching and gasping for air.
He says he ran to get Leroy’s wife Penola, “And I said, ?He’s not dead!’ I told her, ?He’s not dead. He’s not ready for me yet.'”
The Tarvers thought they had been blessed with a miracle and called 9-1-1 again – almost two hours after paramedics initially pronounced Leroy dead.
After the second call, he was rushed to the hospital.
The family says Leroy had a heart attack. Sadly though, they say he only lived another four days.
“My question was, had they carried him to the hospital earlier, would he still be here?” said Barrett.
And that’s the question that the Tarvers say will haunt them forever.
“If they would have taken him to the hospital the first time, he’d be here today,” said Michael.
Officials with Lee County EMS could only say that they’re aware of the situation and that it’s being investigated internally.
Leroy Tarver was finally laid to rest on Saturday.
“So now, he’s gone for real. We miss him,” Michael said.
Officials with Lee County EMS say the investigation into the paramedics’ actions could take several weeks.
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