By Jack King
The Clovis man who was declared dead twice on Wednesday became ill at home early in the day and was transported to the hospital by ambulance, his son said Thursday.
Felipe Padilla, 94, was first declared dead at Plains Regional Medical Center on Wednesday morning and his body was taken to Muffley Funeral Home for embalming. But when a funeral home official began to prepare the body, Padilla was breathing, officials said.
An ambulance returned Padilla to PRMC, where he was soon declared dead a second time and returned to the funeral home on Wednesday night.
His funeral services are pending.
Pat Padilla of Clovis said his father had lived with him on Hickory Street for about three years. The two moved to the residence after his father suffered several falls and could no longer live independently, he said.
Pat Padilla said his father got in bed early Wednesday and told him he felt sick and nauseous. Pat said he called for medical help and an ambulance crew came, put his father on oxygen and took him to the Clovis hospital.
Pat Padilla said he was not at the hospital and could not comment on any events that occurred there, but that he heard later in the day his father had suffered a heart attack.
He said his father did not have a history of heart trouble.
Officials at PRMC have cited patient confidentiality and declined to comment specifically on the incident.
“This is an issue for the family and our concern is mostly about making sure we do what they need in order to help,” hospital administrator Brian Bentley said on Wednesday.
Dr. Greg Matos, a staff physician at Plains Memorial Hospital in Dimmitt, Texas, said under common medical procedure, an examination to determine if a patient is dead would include a close inspection of the body and veins. It also would include a careful “ausculation” of the heart, that is closely listening to the heart with a stethoscope, which also could reveal lung sounds.
It also would include a check of “pulse oxymetry,” which measures the amount of oxygen in the blood, he said.
Patients are often connected to an electrocardiogram, a measurement of the electrical activity of the heart, and doctors will observe the results of that measurement as part of determining death, he said.
At the Dimmitt hospital, patients are not normally connected to an electorencephalogram, which records electrical activity in the brain, Matos said. That measure is reserved for patients in intensive care or who have been brought into the hospital already connected to life-sustaining equipment, Matos said.
Felipe Padilla held several jobs in his lifetime, including custodian at Clovis High School, from which he retired, his son said.
He is survived by his wife Leanor and nine children: Pat, Alfonso (wife Rosalia), Eddie (Berta), all of Clovis; Conrad (Betty) of Albuquerque; Gloria Sanchez (Chris), Tina Romero (Jimmy), and Loraine Padilla, all of Clovis; Christine Torres (Ralph), of Plant City, Fla., and Janet Padilla of Satellite Beach, Fla.