Thomas Maxwell: Paramedics suspended after declaring living Florida man dead despite him still 'breathing'
CLEARWATER, FLORIDA: Thomas Maxwell, 65, a man from Florida, was declared "dead" by paramedics despite his daughter telling them that the patient was still breathing. Clearwater Fire & Rescue Department's two first responders who arrived at the scene of Maxwell's cardiac arrest last week have now been suspended after the incident at the home in Pinellas County.
The patient's daughter Phebe Maxwell said, "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 chest was going up and down and he was making noises, so his lungs were working," and added that the medics made a quick check on her father's pulse and pronounced he was dead. However, Phebe continued to insist on him being alive as she said, "I’m like, 'He’s still breathing!' He’s like, 'No, ma’am, he’s gone, those are just his body releasing gases'," reported WESH.
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Where are the paramedics now?
Maxwell was confirmed alive and breathing after a sheriff's deputy arrived at the scene and investigated the paramedics' claim that he was dead. The patient was then immediately taken to the hospital by the Largo Fire Rescue crew and between their arrival and the initial call to report them, around 28 minutes elapsed, according to WFLA. Talking to WESH, Clearwater Fire Chief Scott Ehlers said, “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."
Following the incident, the two paramedics were suspended by the Pinellas County EMS Medical Director’s Office and are placed on administrative duty.
Paramedics 'did not perform to the standard of care'
In his statement, Ehler apologized and said, "On behalf of the city, I apologize for the actions and the inactions of our crew during this incident," and explained the paramedic's failure to perform their duty by saying, "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."
Phebe told the WESH on Monday, February 20 that her father was seeing a speech therapist and remained in intensive care at the hospital where he is treated. She said, "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."