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'Dead' man found breathing in Taiwan dies six days later

Emergency personnel misjudged man’s condition after finding no breath or pulse and observing stiffness and discoloration

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Hsinchu County Fire Bureau staff meet to discuss how to improve standard operating procedures. (Hsinchu County Government Fire Bureau photo)...

Hsinchu County Fire Bureau staff meet to discuss how to improve standard operating procedures. (Hsinchu County Government Fire Bureau photo)...

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A man surnamed Tung (童) has died six days after he was found to be “apparently” dead and later rushed to the hospital after funeral home staff members heard him breathing.

UDN reported that when the fire department arrived at Tung’s residence in Hsinchu County after receiving a report about a collapsed man, he was not breathing, had no pulse, and showed signs of stiffness and discoloration. Medical staff deemed him “apparently dead” and left the scene for the police.

However, when funeral home employees arrived later that night, they found that he was breathing and had a pulse. They quickly called emergency services and rushed him to the hospital, with UDN citing them as saying this was the first time they had encountered or even heard about such an incident in their 30 years in the business.

Though Tung was treated at a hospital, he eventually died on Tuesday (Oct. 26). His family is angry about his death and believes that if not for the fire department’s misjudgment that delayed his treatment, Tung may have survived.

Members of the fire department have visited Tung’s family multiple times since his hospitalization, and the medical staff involved in the incident are reportedly guilt-ridden to the point of losing sleep, reported UDN.

The Hsinchu County Government Fire Bureau told UDN that while it did not want to discourage emergency service personnel, the bureau will review its definition of “apparently dead at the scene” as well as its standard procedures.

According to current regulations, emergency medical staff are not responsible for transporting dead bodies. The definition of “apparently dead at the scene” involves judging whether the patient shows signs such as out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA), decomposition, stiffness, and decapitation, per UDN.


Updated : 2021-11-28 14:58 GMT+08:00