Local News

Franklin Man Mistakenly Declared Dead Still Recovering

Posted January 23, 2007

Larry Donnell Green continues to recover two years after being hit by a car and mistakenly pronounced dead.
— A Franklin County man continues his slow recovery two years after he was mistakenly sent to the morgue in a body bag after being hit by a car.

Larry Donnell Green was walking along a dark U.S. Highway 401 north of Louisburg on the night of Jan. 24, 2005, when he was hit by a car. Paramedics responding to the accident pronounced Green dead, zipped him into a body bag and sent him to the county morgue.

Hours later, the Franklin County coroner saw Green breathing in the morgue and had an ambulance take him to a nearby hospital.

Green has been in a rehabilitation facility for most of the past two years. His father, Larry Alston, said his son recognizes people and can talk a little but still can't walk.

"It's just like a nightmare, just like a dream," Alston said of the past two years.

"He's not well, but once again, I thank God that he's here and he can smile," he said. "We're hoping for the best."

Franklin County fired paramedics Paul Kilmer and Randy Kearney after the incident, and state regulators stripped them of their state emergency medicine credentials.

Both men later won their credentials back, but neither is currently working as a paramedic.

On Wednesday night, Green's family and friends will gather near the accident scene on U.S. 401 to mark the anniversary and celebrate his life with a candlelight vigil.

After many months, Alston said, he has finally found peace and forgiveness for those involved in the incident.

“The paramedics and the medical examiner, I forgive them. He’s my only son. Because I say I forgive them, that doesn’t take away the pain I feel every day,” he said. "It's not going to help anything to keep anger built up within you. It doesn't change anything."

But when asked whether he planned to sue Franklin County over the incident, he said, "We'll just have to wait and see."

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  • lpomerleau Jan 24, 2007

    First yes the EMS crew may have not looked at the big picture and wrongfully called this guy dead. But, it has been put ou there that it was cold enough and the possibility reigns that Mr. Green did not show any signs of life. If his heart rate was in the 20's ( hypothermia S/S) and had a slow enough respirtory rate (hypothermia ,ETOH, and brain injury) throw in the mechinisum of injury (significant blunt trauma) that yes placed with a little bit of complacency (not putting a heart monitor on the patient) than I can see how this happened. As Mr. Green warms up his brain and body begin to function at a normal (not perfect) rate again. Now here's the kicker the ME tells the other EMS crew that that "just him having death reflexs" and tells the other crew to ignore it and HE's right. But he's wrong and is spineless ,just like the NC board of ME's in Raleigh that state the ME is only there in a investigators compasity and is relieved of any responsbiltiy in the case.
    EMS takes the fall.

  • latanya512 Jan 24, 2007

    Why are people so quik to turn the blame on someones small mistake when such a large one is spitting in their eye? The ME got the emts' fired by not standing by them and the driver kept going. If he did not see the person, he felt him or heard the noise when he hit. He kept going.

  • JoeyC Jan 24, 2007

    Misty, are you claiming you've never sinned before in your life?

  • nursevb8 Jan 24, 2007

    If the ME is not available, then he should have been transported to a hospital to be pronounced dead; not by EMS. So, who is still in the wrong? EMS or the ME? I just hope he recovers fully. But the creep driving that car needs to be found also--he is hiding like a coward-think his consciense will ever get to him? Doubtfully

  • jafo Jan 24, 2007

    beachdreaming is correct..paramedics cannot pronouce death in the state of NC. All they can say is there are "no signs of life." Everyone seems to be overlooking the fact that the medical examiner, who does pronounce someone dead, was on the scene. A huge error was made that night, made up by mistakes from several people (and I really don't think we should blame the driver that hit an intoxicated man walking in the road in the dark)but the paramedics are the ones that received all the blame. Even though they followed state and local protocols, their employer was not willing to stand behind them, which made it look even worse to those that do not know. The media presents the facts that make the best story, so the general public cannot, justifiably, have an informed opinion, but of course, they still think they do.

  • eyesonly4you27525 Jan 24, 2007

    It does not matter who Mr. Green was, what his habits were, or who hit him. The question is, who is responsible for this oversight? WHO SIGNED OFF ON THE PAPERWORK AT THE SCENE THAT HE WAS DECEASED? Who signed papers to take him to the mourg (sp?)? The medical examiner, an elderly "prominent" doctor of many, many years in the Franklin County area did his test at the scene to determine Mr. Green's state, and declared him dead at the scene, and sent him to the mourg. And the two EMS workers took the fall.

  • mistyatnight Jan 24, 2007

    how can the fact that the man may have been drunk or on drugs be of any importance to this case? Are we trying to say that because of that he should have been treated differently than those of us who have no sins?????????? Get real!!!!

  • beachdreaming2000 Jan 24, 2007

    Of course, the general public believes everything the media says. EMS nor Paramedics have the power to declare anyone dead. THAT IS THE MEDICAL EXAMINER'S DUTY. The body is not allowed to be moved until the ME gets there and determines this. Every measure was taken by all equipment available to the EMS/Paramedics and no signs of life were visible. They followed exact procedure. Ultimately, the ME was responsible. People, before you go popping off at the mouth about something you know nothing about, please get your facts straight. The media does NOT get nor give the whole story. The media is going to only give you something to get your panties in a wad. Very seldom do they tell the truth.

  • countrygirl30 Jan 24, 2007

    EMS and the medical examiner should not be suied, if it comes down to that. The person at fault, is the person that HIT him in the first place. I have not heard anything about anyone getting charged. I hope he makes a full recovery, but I hope his family is not just seeing $ signs.

  • finallysingle Jan 24, 2007

    blueridgelab...you are correct on all accounts.