Back From The Dead

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Larry D. Green was declared dead on the scene of a car accident Monday night. His family was notified and his body taken to a morgue. Medical examiner J.B. Perdue was called to the accident scene Monday but did not examine Green then.

About two hours later, Perdue was documenting Green's injuries from being struck by an automobile when he noticed the body take a shallow breath.

"I had to look twice myself just to make sure it was there, that's how subtle it was," Perdue said.

Larry Green is alive, and has reportedly regained his ability to move his hands and feet. Green is in critical condition at Duke University Medical Center, according to family members.

His older brother, Steve Green, 31, said his brother has swelling on his brain, a broken leg and a broken wrist.

Steve Green also said his brother has had surgery on his leg. He recognized the voices of those around him and the swelling on his brain has gone down.

Family members got the call Monday night explaining that Green had been killed when he was hit by a car in the intersection of U.S. 401 and N.C. 39.

Hours later, a trooper with the state Highway Patrol came to tell them that Green wasn't dead. A medical examiner at the morgue had discovered Green breathing.

"We're just concerned about his health right now. We're angry, but we're also relieved," his brother Steve said.

Meanwhile, County Manager Chris Coudriet said four Franklin County paramedics - Pamela Hayes, Katherine Lamell, Wade R. Kearney and Paul Kilmer - have been suspended with pay.

Emergency workers from Franklin County, Louisburg and the Epsom Fire Department responded to the scene, said Darnell Batton, the county attorney, who is investigating the incident.

Batton said he has not yet determined which paramedics checked Green's vital signs. However, no one hooked Green up to an electrocardiogram monitor, which gives an electric reading of the heart, Batton said.

A flat-line on an EKG monitor generally signifies that a person is dead.

Randall Likens, deputy director for Franklin County Emergency Services, said paramedics "don't declare people dead. Only a medical doctor can do that."

Though state law outlines how people can be declared brain dead, no statute says who is authorized to declare a person dead, said Dr. John Butts, chief medical examiner for North Carolina.

"As a practical matter, people are regularly proclaimed dead by medical personnel who are not physicians," Butts said.