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I once saw a movie called the "undead" but your story takes the cake. There's actually a lot of similarities when you think about it between the local story and the one you shared. In each case, we have an official declaration of something that hasn't actually happened. In the case you mention, it sounds like the police officer just wanted to get to the next assignment and took the doctor's word for it. The local case troubles me a little. I don't have any issue with the responders at the scene or funeral director. It just seems odd that a doctor by phone would let a case that had any ambiguity about it be declared remotely.
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Spring River Chronicle has a story which is nothing short of astounding. A local man was pronounced dead, the family was informed, and the man transported to a local funeral home. However, he began to revive at the funeral home and was transported to FCH, where he later passed. My heart goes out to the family. Here is the story from Spring River Chronicle:
admin | May 25, 2011 | Comments 0
On Thursday, May 12, Morris “Cooney” Harmon’s daughter called his neighbor, Mr. David Kurz, asking him to check on her father because she could not reach him. Kurz said that when he went to the residence to check on Harmon, he was lying back on the couch with his dog and was cold and appeared to be deceased, so he called Cherokee Village Police Department (CVPD) at 3:29 p.m.
Officer Phillip Dunlap was the first to arrive on the scene, at 3:36 p.m., and radioed for the coroner once he confirmed the correct address. According to Dunlap, “when I went into the residence to check on Mr. Harmon, he was not breathing and was stiff and cold. When I shook Mr. Harmon, he started making a snoring and gasping sound as if he was sound asleep.”
At 3:38 p.m Dunlap radioed again and advised them to contact Spring River Ambulance Service (SRAS) and have them “get here pretty quick”. When the coroner and EMTs arrived on the scene, all present observed that Harmon was still emitting snoring sounds, approximately once a minute.
Even though they were getting no pulse and he had “flat-lined”, the EMT performed CPR and started an I.V.
According to Coroner Doug Wortham, Andy Schisler of SRAS called the Emergency Room doctor at Fulton County Hospital (FCH), Dr. Summerhill, who told them to stop CPR at that time. Dr. Summerhill then pronounced the time of death at 4:01 p.m. Schisler asked about the snoring/breathing sounds and the doctor assured him it was only agonal respiration, which sometimes occurs shortly after death.
The doctor was called again by Wortham, who needed information for the death certificate. Again, they discussed the snoring/breathing episodes. Summerhill reiterated that Harmon was dead and that the time of death was 4:01 p.m. He also stood by the statement that the breathing episodes were agonal respiration. Wortham said that, at some point, just before leaving his home, Harmon had stopped making the sounds.
According to CVPD’s report, before leaving the residence Wortham spoke with the deceased’s wife, Sandra Harmon, on the phone to advise her of her husband’s death.
Wortham said they then transported Harmon to the Heath Funeral Home at approximately 5:00 p.m. in the coroner’s vehicle. When he brought Harmon to the “cold room”, he noticed that Harmon had started the snoring/breathing sounds again.
Wortham was concerned and went to get his coworker, Wade Bellah, to confirm what he was witnessing. Bellah also observed that Harmon was emitting these sounds and they decided that he needed to be taken to the hospital immediately. They then moved Harmon into the coroner’s vehicle and Wortham drove him to Fulton County Hospital.
When asked why he didn’t call SRAS, Wortham stated, “because I knew they were backed up and it would take them a while to get here. My vehicle was ready to go, lights were still on, and I thought it would be much quicker for me to get him in my vehicle and drive straight there as quickly as possible.”
According to Wortham, upon arrival at the FCH Emergency Room Dr. Summerhill examined Harmon and said that he found a faint pulse. Wortham then called Sandra Harmon to advise her that her husband was no longer at the funeral home but had been taken to FCH and was alive. Wortham then returned to Heath Funeral Home around 6 p.m.
Another eyewitness at the hospital reported that Cooney Harmon was observed in the hospital with a freshly sutured incision in his chest. It is unknown whether the incision had been made before or after his arrival at Fulton County Hospital.
Wortham was again contacted and he repeated, on the record, that he had not yet begun the embalming process at the funeral home and made no incisions. Summerhill was contacted for comment but could not be reached. Fulton County Hospital was contacted, but the hospital representative cited regulations prevented her from answering any questions about any individual.
Wortham said that he spoke with Jay Harmon, the deceased’s brother, and that Jay Harmon told him that “at some time during the night, my brother regained consciousness and communicated with family members and that he recognized me.”
Upon contacting Jay Harmon directly, Jay confirmed that Cooney was communicating with the family and that he was in I.C.U. He further stated that, although it was difficult for the family to understand every word he was saying through the oxygen mask, when he would tell a joke or say something funny, Cooney would look over at him and smile and lightly laugh. He also said that, to his knowledge, all of his brother’s vital signs were good. He said that he felt that Cooney was getting better every hour so he left around 12:30 a.m. to go to the motel to get a shower and change clothes before returning to the hospital. Unfortunately, he was so tired that he fell asleep until he was awakened by a phone call around 2 a.m. to come back to the hospital. He returned to the hospital between 2:30 a.m. and 3 a.m. His brother, Cooney Harmon, died at approximately 4 a.m.
Jay Harmon did say that Cooney was being treated for neurological issues and was on approximately 15 prescription medications a day. Jay Harmon said he feels that it was an absolute miracle that his brother was so alert after having been pronounced dead earlier.
A local cardiologist agrees, “if I had a patient who was flat-lined and had no pulse for more than four minutes and then became cognizant enough to speak with family, I would be inclined to believe that a miracle had occurred.”
Dr. Bozeman was the emergency room doctor on duty when Mr. Harmon passed away at approximately 4 a.m. Friday, May 13. Harmon’s service was held Saturday, May 14.
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