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  1. #1
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    NY - Eutisha Rennix, 25, & fetus die as EMT dispatchers refuse to help, 9 Dec 2009

    EMTs Accused of Ignoring Dying Woman Get Suspended, Investigated



    The two paramedics accused of refusing to help a pregnant woman who was having a fatal seizure have been suspended without pay. Jason Green, 32, and Melissa Jackson, 23, were suspended for allegedly telling employees in a Downtown Brooklyn café to "call 911" instead of aiding 25-year-old Eutisha Revee Rennix, who was six months pregnant when she collapsed on Dec. 9.

    The two EMTs — who are romantically involved according to the Daily News — work in the Emergency Medical Service dispatch center in the Metrotech Center building above the Au Bon Pain eatery where Rennix fell ill. Though they are employed as dispatchers, WCBS reports that they both had been trained as EMTs. The Brooklyn's District Attorney's Office is now trying to determine if the paramedics had a legal duty to assist Rennix, and they have obtained surveillance video from the scene. Yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg blasted the EMTs for continuing the purchase their breakfast while Rennix fought for her life.

    Employees at the coffee shop said that Green and Jackson — who have worked at the agency for six years and four years respectively — claimed they weren't allowed to provide aid, allegedly stating that "if they reacted, they could get in trouble. They said they weren't allowed to touch her unless a call was made to 911 first."

    According to union official Jeff Samerson, Jackson called 911 from inside the store — though sources tell the tabloid that the paramedic reported that Rennix was having difficulty breathing without ever examining her (when an ambulance arrived 11 minutes later, the EMTs didn't think they were responding to a critical situation and left some lifesaving tools in their vehicle). "[Jackson] didn't have an ambulance. She didn't have equipment. She does not work in the field as an active EMT in an ambulance," Samerson told NY1. "She is a dispatcher. She works as an emergency medical dispatcher. [Green] is also a dispatcher. These are people that are not in the field, that have not had patient contact in years. And they did the best they could."
    http://gothamist.com/2009/12/22/emts...dying_woma.php


    How messed up is THAT???
    meaning the law... them not being allowed to assist.
    Last edited by BlOnDe_GuRrL; 12-22-2009 at 03:04 PM.

  2. #2
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    This seems very misleading to me.

    These two weren't active EMTs - they were dispatchers who had not had contact with a patient in years. Based on the little bit the article states, it really does sound like they did their best. They wanted 911 called because they knew they weren't going to be much help.

    I have no idea what the law states. Anyone can try to save anyone else, it would seem.
    I do not intend to tiptoe through life only to arrive safely at death!

  3. #3
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    If they were trained as EMT's I believe they had a legal responsibility to assist this woman, even if they only called 911, secured the scene and administered CPR. As human beings they were morally responsible to at least do that.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by southcitymom View Post
    This seems very misleading to me.

    These two weren't active EMTs - they were dispatchers who had not had contact with a patient in years. Based on the little bit the article states, it really does sound like they did their best. They wanted 911 called because they knew they weren't going to be much help.

    I have no idea what the law states. Anyone can try to save anyone else, it would seem.
    I totally agree. I heard this on the news this morning and it was presented as if these two were active EMT's on duty that just sat by and ignored this woman. It is a sad story but I am not sure these two deserve the bashing they are getting from the media.
    Last edited by angela; 12-22-2009 at 07:31 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by angela View Post
    I totally agree. I heard this on the news this morning and it was presented as if these two were active EMT's on duty that just sat by and ignored this woman. It is a sad story but I am not sure these two deserve the bashing they are getting from the media.
    You'd think there's enough "sensational" stuff going on without the media twisting this around.
    I do not intend to tiptoe through life only to arrive safely at death!

  6. #6
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    I have witnessed a similar situation. An old man had just walked out of his doctors office and suffered a heart attack. On-lookers went into the office to beg the doctor to treat the man. But he told us to call 000 (our 911), and stood by, eating his lunch watching this man die.
    I know in this day and age they have a major fear of legal action if anything goes wrong, but if a member of the public can perform CPR until emergency services arrive, then why can't trained professionals? (no matter how long it's been since they were trained or had contact with patients).

    What happened to first do no harm? They didnt even call 911?
    My heart goes out to this family.
    JMO

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by butwhatif? View Post
    I have witnessed a similar situation. An old man had just walked out of his doctors office and suffered a heart attack. On-lookers went into the office to beg the doctor to treat the man. But he told us to call 000 (our 911), and stood by, eating his lunch watching this man die.
    I know in this day and age they have a major fear of legal action if anything goes wrong, but if a member of the public can perform CPR until emergency services arrive, then why can't trained professionals? (no matter how long it's been since they were trained or had contact with patients).

    What happened to first do no harm? They didnt even call 911?
    My heart goes out to this family.
    JMO
    I too am interested in the law on this. These two did say "call 911."

    But the article makes it sound like this women was dying at everyone's feet while no one did a thing. I'm hard-pressed to believe someone wasn't with her - trying to help her - holding her hand or something while someone else called 911.
    I do not intend to tiptoe through life only to arrive safely at death!

  8. #8
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    OK, I'm totally confused. If the protocol is to first call 911, then why were they suspended without pay for telling the employees there to do just that and not attempting to treat the victim themselves? MOO
    Rest in Peace
    Joey, Summer, Gianni & Joseph Mateo


  9. #9
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    if they were on duty and someone called 911 then they can respond ? wtf?

  10. #10
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    It looks like the female paramedic/dispatcher (Melissa Jackson) did call 911, so that works in her favor, although her weak analysis and reporting of the actual problem doesn't.

    From the article:
    According to union official Jeff Samerson, Jackson called 911 from inside the store — though sources tell the tabloid that the paramedic reported that Rennix was having difficulty breathing without ever examining her (when an ambulance arrived 11 minutes later, the EMTs didn't think they were responding to a critical situation and left some lifesaving tools in their vehicle). "[Jackson] didn't have an ambulance. She didn't have equipment. She does not work in the field as an active EMT in an ambulance," Samerson told NY1. "She is a dispatcher. She works as an emergency medical dispatcher. [Green] is also a dispatcher. These are people that are not in the field, that have not had patient contact in years. And they did the best they could."
    I would have examined her more carefully, and I think they will feel civil/legal repercussions from not having done so.

    The problem is that good Samaritan laws only protect lay people - not medical personnel on duty. In that way, the death of this poor woman is the fault of ambulance chasers and our own litigiousness.

    ETA: Good Samaritan laws:
    http://definitions.uslegal.com/g/good-samaritans/
    in addition to not having the proper equipment, I expect these dispatchers were, rightly or wrongly, afraid they wouldn't be covered.

    My wonder is why they didn't at least do a better evaluation and relay it to the 911 dispatcher. If it turns out that those minutes to get the proper equipment were the difference between life and death, they're cooked.
    Last edited by Muffet; 12-22-2009 at 11:12 PM.
    Always JMO, FWIW, YMMV...


  11. #11
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    It is true that the Good Samaritan laws would be an issue here. The Good Samaritan law basically says that if a bystander sees someone in an emergency situation and trys to help but is unsuccessful, they cannot be held liable, even if they did it wrong as long as it wasn't wanton or malicous. But the dispatchers are in a grey area. They have been trained and are paid in the position. They were probably in uniform. But they were off duty. So they are in a grey area. If they examined her and didn't attempt CPR, they could be held liable, if they attempted CPR and some attorney wanted to make the point that they did it wrong or made some error, they could be held liable.

    Still most EMS persons that I know will act when they see an emergency, and figure they will sort the rest out later. Of course a lot of them are volunteer anyway and are working in their own communities. And you don't need equipment or an ambulance to do a cursory evaluation, begin CPR or do a Heimlich manuver.
    Last edited by mysteriew; 12-23-2009 at 01:18 AM.

  12. #12
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    Hmm......this story lacks details and is somewhat inconsistent.

    There is a difference between EMT's and paramedics in skill level. Add to that, the huge disparity from them being actual medics of either type or dispatchers who have never cared for patients in a hands on manner.

    With no equipment, one of the few things they could do would be CPR. If she was seizing a big portion of that time you are even more helpless.

    While they may not have broken any laws.....it sounds like their actions and attitudes may have been seen as callous and uncaring. And for that....the court of public opinion needs no laws.
    [/I]

  13. #13
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    Hmmm...What did she die of?

  14. #14
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    Wasn't it said that they didn't even go back where the lady was? I can't imagine, as a person, knowing that a pregnant woman was back there having trouble and not going back there and trying to help. These two had some knowledge that might have helped keep the woman alive until help came. Really a sad situation.

  15. #15
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    I work in a large retail store where accidents are fairly frequent. We often are fortunate enough to have an EMT in the store when they happen and they are ALWAYS quick to respond and always so loving and helpful. Not ever once did one of them eat while someone had a seizure. JMO.........and I hope one never does. But.........there is only so much one can do for someone having a seizure. Not sure how correct the story on this one is.

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