A pair of Denver firefighters have been suspended after they mistakenly declared a woman dead even though she was still alive.
CBS Denver reports the incident took place on June 24, when Lieutenant Patrick Lopez and firefighter Marshall Henry responded to do a welfare check on a woman whose father called police because he hadn’t heard from his daughter several days after she’d had stomach surgery.
According to a disciplinary letter obtained by The Denver Post, Denver police Officer Eugene McComas went inside the woman’s home and found her inside. McComas claimed she appeared to be dead, and relayed his observation to Lopez and Henry. Without ever entering the home, Lopez called the Denver Health Medical Center to declare the woman dead, before handing his phone to Henry.
“Henry relayed the police officer’s description of the woman as though he had made the observations, saying ‘she is bloated and obviously dead,’” the letter states. “The doctor asked Henry whether the woman had a pulse or if there were signs of trauma and Henry said no, despite not having assessed her or looked at her himself.”
After both firefighters left the scene, McComas re-entered the residence, saw the woman moving and asked crews to return. The woman was then transported to a local hospital, where she ultimately survived.
Lopez has demoted from lieutenant to firefighter and given a 14-shift suspension without pay. Henry was given a 10-shift suspension without pay.
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