If a patient is breathing, moving their limbs, and making eye contact with loved ones, it seems it would be obvious they are alive. But Michael Cleveland was doing all of these things, and a doctor still declared him dead. He was wrong, and the upstate New York man ended up “dying” twice — the first time, when he was mistaken for dead, and a second time, for real.

Cleveland’s wife Tammy is now filing a lawsuit against two doctors and two hospitals involved with her husband’s treatment after he collapsed from a heart attack. Tammy claims that a doctor at DeGraff Medical Hospital declared her husband dead, then ignored the family’s urges that he was still alive. According to the lawsuit, doctors assured Tammy three times that her husband was dead, and that any movement was because he “had a lot of energy to expel from his body.”

“The doctor told me that it would appear like he was breathing, but he really wasn’t,” Tammy told the Democrat & Chronicle. “I said, ‘but he’s responding to me…he (tried) to hug me.’”

Tammy claims that she called Dr. Gregory Perry and nurses back into the room multiple times, but they “did not touch [Cleveland] or check his vitals but told the family members this was normal, and they again left the room,” according to the lawsuit. It was not until the fourth time that Perry entered the room that he finally checked Cleveland's pulse.

“My God, he has a pulse!” he said, according to Tammy.

One hundred minutes had passed since the first declaration of death. Cleveland was then transferred to Buffalo General Medical Center for further care. Once there, it was determined that he was in danger not because of the heart attack, but because of respiratory issues caused by a collapsed lung. Tammy said that the doctor told her her husband would have most likely lived if the lung had been treated sooner. Michael Cleveland instead died in the early morning hours.

The family is seeking damages from both doctors and both hospitals that treated him. The lawsuit says the doctors’ actions “transcend the bounds of human decency and constitute shocking and outrageous conduct.”

Tammy Cleveland’s attorney said that the case is more about accountability and closure than money, a sentiment that Tammy echoed.

“I want him to apologize,” she said of Perry. “I want him to apologize to my family, I want him to apologize to Mike. And I want to make sure it’s never going to happen again to anyone else.”

The next hearing for the case will take place on Feb. 24, and Tammy will appear in court alongside the doctor she is suing.

“I wonder if this guy sleeps at night,” she said. “Because I sure don’t.”