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US man pronounced dead, then moves limbs

23 May 2015, 10:12

Milwaukee — A man was pronounced dead after collapsing at his apartment, but began to move his limbs as he was about to be taken to the morgue, authorities say.

The girlfriend of the 46-year-old man had not been able to reach him for two days, and called police Tuesday asking for an officer to check on him. An officer went to the man's home and entered his apartment with the building manager. The man, identified by relatives as Thomas Sancomb, had collapsed at the end of his bed, according to the heavily redacted report from the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner. The officer called for help.

Paramedics from the Milwaukee Fire Department said Sancomb was "cold to the touch and in rigor," and they did not attempt to resuscitate him, the report said.

Sancomb was pronounced dead at 2:10 p.m. at the apartment, forensic investigator Genevieve M. Penn wrote in the report. Penn then called Sancomb's brother, John Sancomb, to inform him of the death and the brother requested an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

A transport team arrived to take the body to the morgue, but at about 3 p.m., Thomas Sancomb had "spontaneous respirations" and began moving his left arm and right leg, but no pulse was evident, Penn wrote. She summoned paramedics back to the apartment and called the family.

Sancomb's pulse returned and he was rushed to Columbia St. Mary's Hospital in Milwaukee. His diagnosis at the hospital was redacted from the report. Hospital spokesman Evan Solochek said no information could be disclosed because of federal privacy laws.

John Sancomb told the medical examiner that his brother had a drink and a cigar every once in a while, but did not use street drugs. Sancomb said he last saw his brother two weeks ago and was concerned that he wasn't walking well, the report said.

He told The Associated Press that his brother is improving every day.

"Thomas' health is the most important thing we're focusing on right now," he said, declining to talk further about the incident.

The medical examiner's office declined to comment on the case. The Milwaukee Police Department said only that officers responded to a welfare check and found the man unresponsive in a bedroom. Milwaukee Fire Department Lt. Mark Stanmeyer referred questions to fire officials, who rejected a request to speak to the lieutenant who responded to the apartment.

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- AP

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