Family Sues FDNY and EMT for Death of Pregnant Woman – Failure to Act

The family of a pregnant woman who accused two FDNY EMTs of refusing to come to her aid in her final moments, have filed suit against the city and one of the EMTs.

Eutisha Rennix died on December 9, 2009 after she suffered an asthma attack at work in an Au Bon Pain in Brooklyn. Immediately after her death, her family began accusing the two EMTs of refusing to help Ms. Rennix, stating publically on television that the EMTs sat in the restaurant and had coffee and bagels while Rennix died in the back room because they were on a "coffee break".

While most of the allegations leveled by the family have been refuted by the facts, the lawsuit alleges that the failure of EMTs Jason Green and Melissa Jackson to assist, coupled with the initial dispatching of a BLS unit, and the delayed response of ALS care, contributed the Ms. Rennix’s death

The incident took place across the street from a dispatching center for ambulances where the two EMTs worked as dispatchers. Green and Jackson, who were dating, stopped in to pick up coffee and were in line when they were informed someone was feeling ill and needed an ambulance. Jackson used her personal cellphone to call in the request. Neither Green nor Jackson were ever asked to examine the patient nor informed that the patient was seriously ill. They left with their order to return to work and did not, as alleged, sit and eat.

Green was subsequently shot and killed in what appears to be an unrelated act of violence on July 18, 2010 outside a Manhattan nightclub.

Among the allegations in the suit are that the city should have provided a better-equipped ambulance.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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