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Heartbroken Widow Suing Hospitals for Mistakes That Lead To Her Husband's Tragic Death

Tammy Cleveland is the widow of Michael Cleveland who is suing two Buffalo-area hospitals after her husband was twice declared dead after suffering a heart attack last October. She said she watched him gasp, kick and try to hug her for almost two and a half hours as hands-off doctors insisted he was dead. She believes that if doctors had listened to her, he might still be alive.

She said, "I'm wondering if he's having nightmares like I am. He's got to have some kind of a conscience. I just want him to be sorry for what he did and not do it to anyone else again."

Tammy's 46-year-old husband suffered a heart attack when grocery shopping with his 13-year-old son on October 10, 2014. After being taken to the hospital, his wife and children were informed he had died and encouraged them to say their goodbyes. Yet, they were also told he only looked like he was breathing.

Tammy says she saw him turn his eyes toward her. She then sent her daughter to get a nurse, but when the doctor, identified as Gregory Perry, returned he assured that "he had a lot of life to expel out of his body because he's only 46 and he was young."

Each time he moved his eyes, head, or lifted parts of his body, his family called for the doctor to return. This went on from 8: 30 p.m. until 11:10 p.m. when Michael lifted his head, exposing his neck and a visible heartbeat along his throat Perry exclaimed, "My God, he has a pulse!"

Michael was found suffering a punctured lung from a broken rib which was sustained during CPR administered by a bystander. He was rushed to Buffalo General Medical Center for further treatment. During his transport in an ambulance, he was described as breathing, responsive, moving his arms and legs and attempting to hold a paramedic's hand, the lawsuit claims.

He was pronounced dead for a second time, at 10:48 a.m. on Oct. 11, from respiratory failure, his certificate of death reads. The widow's attorney, Charles Burkwit, said, "What actually killed Mr. Cleveland at the end was the respiratory failure. That is where he lost his life. He went into respiratory failure because that collapsed lung was left unassisted for such a long period of time."

Tammy is suing Perry and both hospitals for malpractice.

Photo: Washington Post, RSVP Magazine

Hospitals pronounce man dead twice, widow suing for malpractice.

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