Man Declared Dead Turns Out to Be Alive

ByABC News
January 26, 2005, 11:52 AM

LOUISBURG, N.C., Jan. 26, 2005 -- -- A 29-year-old man is alive, even though paramedics declared him dead at the scene of an automobile accident, zipped him up into a body bag and sent him to the morgue.

State highway patrol officials told ABC News affiliate WTVD-TV in Durham that Larry Green, of Louisburg, was hit by a car around 9 p.m. Monday at the intersection of Highway 401 and Highway 39 in Franklin County.

Paramedics pronounced Green dead and a trooper called his family to break the news. Medics put Green in a body bag and took him to the county morgue, which is located at the jail in Louisburg.

Nearly two hours after the accident, Trooper T.L. Hunt went into the morgue and met with the county coroner, J.B. Perdue, but when the two unzipped the body bag to document the man's injuries, they got a big surprise -- Green was breathing, though just barely.

"I had to look twice myself just to make sure it was there, that's how subtle it was," Perdue told the The News & Observer in Raleigh.

A trooper raced back to the family's house to tell grieving relatives that Green was alive.

He was in critical condition Tuesday night at Duke University Medical Center in Durham. The family told WTVD-TV that Green was on a ventilator.

The Franklin County manager told WTVD he is conducting an investigation into the mistake, and Franklin County attorney Darnell Batton said the county's medical director has suspended those who were involved in the incident.

The county attorney's office is investigating how the mistake was made.