Greenville family speaks out about 62-year-old man pronounced dead twice

Greenville family speaks out about 62-year-old man pronounced dead twice

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – An Eastern Carolina family is searching for answers after a 62-year-old man who was pronounced dead by first responders was later seen breathing by family members.

Yuwanda Matthewson says her late stepfather, James Purvis, was found unresponsive at a home off Paris Avenue in Greenville on Oct. 5.

According to Matthewson, when Greenville Fire/Rescue officials arrived, they determined that Purvis was dead. First responders then left the house around 11 a.m.

A short time later, Matthewson was allowed to see Purvis’ body and witnessed something that shook her to the core.

“I saw him breathing,” Matthewson said. “When I saw him breathing, I wanted to make sure I saw what I saw. I saw him breathe again and his chest moved up and down twice.”

Matthewson says she then asked officers who were still at the home to tell first responders to come back. She says when they returned around noon, they hooked Purvis up to a heart monitor. Matthewson claims there was heart activity and first responders pronounced him dead again.

“They still did not take him to the hospital until about 3:00 or 4:00 that afternoon,” Matthewson said. “That caused him to stay on the floor for about four to five hours.”

Matthewson says Purvis was transferred to the hospital and doctors stated he was still alive upon arrival. He later passed away.

The 62-year-old man was laid to rest Oct.15, but Matthewson believes his death could’ve been prevented.

“If they would’ve given him oxygen like we asked them to do,” Matthewson said. “And when I asked the chief if they’ve ever seen anyone do this and he stated no.”

WITN reached out to Greenville Fire/Rescue Chief Carson Sanders about Purvis’ death and he sent us the following statement:

Greenville Fire/Rescue

Greenville Fire/Rescue

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