A 63-year-old Sylmar man who was pronounced dead at his home by paramedics Thursday afternoon was discovered still alive by a deputy coroner called to take the body away, authorities said.
The unidentified man was reportedly taken to Holy Cross Hospital in Mission Hills and by evening was said to be in stable condition. However, a hospital staff member refused to say whether the man had even been brought there.
Supervising Deputy Coroner Phil Spada said the man had gone to a shed behind his mobile home in the 15800 block of Olden Street on Thursday afternoon. His wife became worried because he had been on medication, and she feared he might have taken too many pills. She called Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics, who broke into the shed and found him sprawled across his workbench. They pronounced him dead at 3:35 p.m.
"He showed all the signs of death," Spada said. ". . . Pallor, he was white, there was no sign of breathing or heartbeat."
Foothill Division police officers called for the coroner about 4:20 p.m. When Deputy Coroner Phillip Campbell began making a routine examination before removing the body, he thumped the heavyset man on the back and saw that his mouth suddenly opened. Campbell reached into the throat, pulled out a wad of chewing tobacco and cleared the passage. Then he told police to recall the paramedics.