Video: Emergency responders accused of ignoring dying woman

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    >> what happens.

    >>> two emergency medical technicians are accused of actually ignoring a dying pregnant woman because they were too busy ordering breakfast. the 25-year-old collapsed at her cashier's job at a restaurant in new york. witnesses say the emts walked away from the scene telling horrified customers and staffers to call 911. she and her unborn daughter died an hour later. emts are now suspended without pay. reaction from so many people including mayor michael bloomberg . jonathan, it's even reading this and i've heard the story all day today, it seems hard to believe. these are the facts out right now about it.

    >> the facts according to a lot of the workers and the family that we spoke with. she collapsed in the bathroom there. the emts were in uniform. they had been working as dispatchers that day at the fire department headquarters. they were in there order iing their breakfast. they say people were saying, help this woman, help this woman, and they said call 911. took their breakfast and walked out. one did call 911. the outrage, the anger expressed by the mayor is they were in uniform, trained professionals, it's their job to help and they did not.

    >> so did the union offer any other excuse, and at this point it sounds like it would only be an excuse why they wouldn't help her, they called 911?

    >> some of the expansion that's starting, most hyped the scenes say there's really no excuse. it's their job to help. this is a very rare circumstance. off-duty emts , fire, police save lives. they're saying, look, they were working as dispatchers, hadn't been on the street for a while. perhaps they didn't feel comfortable rendering that type of aid. it's not an excuse. not too many people buying that explanation. there is a criminal investigation as to whether their alleged inaction resulted in this death.

    >> i want to tell you what michael bloomberg , the mayor of new york city , said about this.

    >> burnt out? they were sitting there having coffee. how could they have been burned out. they're human beings . someone said help, and they just sat there.

    >> 9:13 a.m . is when the first 911 call, a low priority. by 10:17 latisha had died along with her unborn child . do we know the cause of death at this point?

    >> we do not. this happened on december 9th and the family buried her without an autopsy taking place so now the lawyers, they've been in contact with just recently as this has gained steam and has, you know, what has happened has become more apparent, they may exhume the body to find out the cause of death . remember, this is a woman who was six months pregnant with a girl. she has a 3-year-old son. she has a twin brother who was serving in afghanistan who now has to fly home and help this family as they try to figure out what to do with the 3-year-old child and find out who is best to take care of him and the family tells us she suffered from asthma. the theory is she suffered some sort of asthma attack . if that's the case, maybe more could have been done to save her. maybe we won't know until an autopsy is done 0 if one is done.

    >> this investigation continues and, again, those emergency workers have been suspended without pay right now. jonathan, thank you very much.

    >>> two sheriff's officers in washington

updated 12/22/2009 4:13:17 PM ET 2009-12-22T21:13:17

Two emergency medical technicians accused of refusing to help a dying pregnant woman are "inhuman," her mother said Tuesday. A lawyer for the EMTs argued his clients are being vilified in a rush to judgment.

Cynthia Rennix, the mother of 25-year-old Eutisha Revee Rennix, told The Associated Press that the EMTs shouldn't have taken the jobs if they weren't willing to get involved.

"These are people who are supposed to take a minute to be concerned," she said.

But lawyer Douglas Rosenthal said the facts will show that Jason Green and Melissa Jackson acted "appropriately" at the Au Bon Pain outlet in Brooklyn on Dec. 9.

Workers told to call 911
The two were at the eatery when Eutisha Rennix, an employee, collapsed. Witnesses have said the EMTs told workers to call 911, then left when they were asked to help the 25-year-old woman.

Rennix died at a hospital shortly afterward, her baby too premature to survive.

Her mother said she never could have imagined that an emergency services worker would refuse to help someone.

"You are very inhuman; you don't need to have a job like you do," she said.

Fire Department spokesman Steve Ritea said that all FDNY members "take an oath to assist others whenever they're in need of emergency medical care. It's their sworn duty."

Rennix said she has yet to decide whether she is going to take any legal action. She is taking care of her daughter's 3-year-old son.

Rosenthal, the EMTs' lawyer, said that he has known Green for years and that "he's a good guy."

The Fire Department on Monday suspended Green, a six-year member, and Jackson, a four-year member, without pay. The department is investigating, as is the state Department of Health, which oversees the emergency medical services system. A criminal probe is also under way.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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