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Lawsuit Against EMS Workers Who Failed To Help Pregnant Woman Dismissed

Posted by on Apr. 8, 2014 at 5:28 PM
  • 128 Replies

 

 

Lawsuit Against EMS Workers Who Failed To Help Pregnant Woman Dismissed

 

 

 

 

eutisha rennix lawsuitA Brooklyn judge threw out a lawsuit against two city medics who failed to save a pregnant Au Bon Pain worker suffering an asthma attack, the New York Daily News reports.

 

SEE ALSO: Iconic Hollywood Actor Mickey Rooney Dies At 93

 

The workers claim they didn't help the unconscious woman because she did not request assistance. Judge Carolyn Demarest cited a state law in approving the city's motion to drop the lawsuit, filed by Eutisha Rennix's (pictured) family. The law says gross negligence can only be claimed if a "special duty" is owed to an incapacitated person, which can only be established if the person or an immediate family member requests assistance.

 

Rennix was six months pregnant when she began suffering breathing problems at a MetroTech eatery in 2009. Her co-workers lead her to a back room while another notified EMS dispatchers Melisa Jackson and Jason Green, who were both in the shop at the time.

 

While Jackson called 911 with her cell phone, she and Green soon left without checking on Rennix. The mother-to-be was later pronounced dead at a Brooklyn hospital. Her son, born via C-section, died two hours afterwards.

 

Rennix's mother was appalled at the decision.

 

"I feel like the city treated my daughter in the same heartless and inhumane way that (the medics) did," Cynthia Rennix said.

 

"How could my daughter have called 911 if she was unconscious? It's crazy. And it's unfair."

 

"This technicality, which clearly is not in the interest of New Yorkers, particularly those whose wrongful death might have been prevented, must be addressed by either the appellate courts or the governor and the state Legislature," said Rennix's lawyer, Sanford Rubenstein.

 

Jackson also evaded criminal charges last year. However, she still faces disciplinary action for not assisting Rennix, per an FDNY spokeswoman. Green was killed outside a Manhattan nightclub in 2010.

 

"This was a tragic case, but we believe the judge made the correct legal decision," a Law Department spokesman said.

 *******************ETA - she was an EMT  

JESSE WARD FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
EMT worker Melisa Jackson, is taken to central booking after her arrest for official misconduct in the death of Au Bon Pain employee Eutisha Rennix.


The Brooklyn EMT who didn't want to interrupt a coffee break with a boyfriend to tend to a dying, pregnant woman was cleared of criminal charges Tuesday after a top EMS chief who had supported her prosecution did an about-face, saying she didn't violate departmental rules, prosecutors said.

Melisa Jackson, 27, was on-duty in December 2009 when she bought coffee at an Au Bon Pain in FDNY's Brooklyn Metrotech headquarters and frantic workers, spotting her EMS uniform, begged her to help employee Eutisha Rennix, who was having a serious asthma attack in a back room.

Jackson called 911 from her cellphone as Rennix, 25 and six months pregnant, gasped for air. But the EMT never went to the back to personally check on the woman, who died along with her unborn baby.

"Ms. Rennix did die that day ... and the defendant had her coffee," prosecutor Kevin Richards said in Brooklyn Criminal Court before asking the judge to dismiss the case.

"The defendant did what amounted to a little more than nothing."

In the call Jackson made, she giggled four times and asked that her name not be used, Richards said, adding that two firefighters who were later approached by workers of the downtown Brooklyn café immediately rushed to help.

EMS Chief Abdo Nahmod had said that the EMT violated the "Flag Down Rule," which states that uniformed medics must provide treatment if called to do so. That led to Jackson's October 2010 arrest.

But according to prosecutors, Nahmod reversed his position on the eve of trial.

In a letter to prosecutors, Nahmod said the rule doesn't actually apply to personnel not assigned to an ambulance or a special event.

The case should be dropped, he said, leaving prosecutors no choice but to ask for dismissal.

Defense attorney Benjamin Heinrich said charges of official misconduct should have never been brought in the first place, arguing his client "did all she could by calling for help," and that Rennix was the irresponsible party for not going to the hospital earlier despite a medic's recommendation.

"I did everything that I was able to do," a relieved Jackson said after the hearing was over. "I had no type of equipment to render any care."


Jackson was on a coffee break with boyfriend Jason Green, a fellow EMS dispatcher who was fatally shot outside a Manhattan club on July 2010.

The mother of the 25-year-old victim, who had filed a suit against the city, said she's disturbed by the sudden turn of events.

"There should be justice done," Cynthia Rennix, 64, told the Daily News. "Somebody has to take responsibility for what happened."

RELATED: MOM OF PREGNANT WOMAN LEFT TO DIE BY EMTS WANTS DAUGHTER'S BODY EXHUMED FOR AUTOPSY


ANTHONY DELMUNDO/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Melisa Jackson, the EMT charged with ignoring a pregnant lady who suffered a fatal asthma attack in a Brooklyn coffee shop, arrives with her attorney Benjamin Heinrich at Brooklyn Criminal Court on June 25.
Jackson "has no feelings and no conscious of a human being," the mother said. "She should have had some kind of compassion."

Family lawyer Sanford Rubenstein said the dismissal of the criminal case should have no bearing on the civil case the Rennix family brought against the city, which in a previous motion to dismiss the lawsuit had argued that Jackson had no duty top help.

"It's disgraceful," he said of Nahmod's change of position.

An FDNY spokesperson didn't immediately answer questions about the department's policies.

Jackson, who's been assigned for clerical work for the 32 months her case was pending, said she hopes to have her old job back. She sleeps well at night and wouldn't do anything differently, she added.

Asked if she wants to apologize to the Rennix family, Jackson shot back: "Apologize for what exactly?"

oyaniv@nydailynews.com

TIMELINE OF EUTISHA RENNIX CASE

Dec. 2009: Eutisha Rennix, six months pregnant, collapses at work during a severe asthma attack. EMTs Melisa Jackson and boyfriend Jason Green are in the cafe and Jackson calls 911, but neither checks on her. Rennix and her unborn baby die.

July 2010: Green is fatally shot outside a Manhattan nightclub in an unrelated incident.

Sept. 2010: The Rennix family files a civil suit against the city, the FDNY, Jackson and Long Island College Hospital.

Oct. 2010:The Brooklyn DA files criminal charges for official misconduct against Jackson.

April 2013: The city moves to dismiss the Rennix' civil suit, saying Jackson had no special duty to aid the victim.

June 2013: The Brooklyn DA drops its charges against Jackson after EMS Chief Abdo Nahmod backtracks and says he no longer thinks the EMT was required to help Rennix.

 

by on Apr. 8, 2014 at 5:28 PM
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Replies (1-10):
LauraKW
by "Dude!" on Apr. 8, 2014 at 6:16 PM
Legally I can see the argument. They did not engage the woman and they did call 911. As a human, I don't know how that EMS can live with herself.

*edit for clarity
Chaos1229
by Tasha on Apr. 8, 2014 at 6:20 PM
1 mom liked this

 So they just walked out of the diner and didnt even bother to check on her ? Wow i dont understand how anyone could do that to someone especially those trained to help in situations of that nature.

Mommabearbergh
by Gold Member on Apr. 8, 2014 at 6:23 PM
7 moms liked this
Hell I check on people when they are hurt its the humane thing to do. I am not a paramedic but I would have checked on her because its the right thing to do.
Euphoric
by Bazinga! on Apr. 8, 2014 at 6:24 PM

Wow how heart breaking. Does it say anywhere what caused he death?

paganbaby
by Teflon Don on Apr. 8, 2014 at 6:26 PM
5 moms liked this

Why did they just walk away? They're EMS, this is what they're trained to do. I can't understand that. I'm just a regular person and even I would have stayed and given CPR if she needed it.

sheramom4
by Bronze Member on Apr. 8, 2014 at 6:26 PM
3 moms liked this

My husband is not an EMT. He did have advanced lifesaver training in the military and we always stop and help if someone seems to be in distress. I don't see how the medics can live with themselves. 

ETA okay I re-read and I am very confused. I was under the impression that it is the JOB of EMS to render life saving medical assistance. She was unconscious.....why did they walk away?

Megan11587
by Member on Apr. 8, 2014 at 6:28 PM
"Jackson also evaded criminal charges last year"

She is still an EMT. Nice.
paganbaby
by Teflon Don on Apr. 8, 2014 at 6:30 PM

That's the question.

Quoting sheramom4:

My husband is not an EMT. He did have advanced lifesaver training in the military and we always stop and help if someone seems to be in distress. I don't see how the medics can live with themselves. 

ETA okay I re-read and I am very confused. I was under the impression that it is the JOB of EMS to render life saving medical assistance. She was unconscious.....why did they walk away?




I will not have a temper tantrum nor stomp across the floor.


I will not pout, scream or shout or kick against the door.

I will not throw my food around nor pick upon another.

I’ll always try to be real good because I am the mother.

I am the mother.

I am the mother.














Momniscient
by Ruby Member on Apr. 8, 2014 at 6:30 PM
1 mom liked this
Right. It's kind a tragic catch 22 because lawsuits are what force EMS to act within certain parameters.

Quoting LauraKW: Legally I can see the argument. They did not engage the woman and they did call 911. As a human, I don't know how that EMS can live with herself.

*edit for clarity
sheramom4
by Bronze Member on Apr. 8, 2014 at 6:31 PM


Quoting paganbaby:

That's the question.

Quoting sheramom4:

My husband is not an EMT. He did have advanced lifesaver training in the military and we always stop and help if someone seems to be in distress. I don't see how the medics can live with themselves. 

ETA okay I re-read and I am very confused. I was under the impression that it is the JOB of EMS to render life saving medical assistance. She was unconscious.....why did they walk away?

I just cannot wrap my mind around this. I try to think the best of people and then I read the news....

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