A New York emergency medical technician (EMT) who was accused of doing nothing while a nearby pregnant woman entered medical distress and subsequently died was recently charged in a federal court with misconduct, The New York Daily News reported.
Melissa Jackson, 23, was arraigned on Oct. 12 on charges of official misconduct after surrendering to law enforcement authorities.. The incident occurred last December when expectant mom Eutisha Rennix, 25, suffered an asthma attack at a restaurant in downtown Brooklyn while Jackson and her boyfriend Jason Green, a fellow EMT, were at the same restaurant taking their lunch breaks. Rennix was an employee of the bakery.
Other patrons rushed to the pair, pleading for the trained medics to help. Jackson called a FDNY dispatcher, she and Green otherwise did nothing to help Rennix, who died along with her premature baby hours later.
Jackson’s lawyer, Benjamin Heinrich, defended her in court saying, “she acted” and “she called directly to the dispatcher.” But many accuse the couple of not using their life-saving skills..
Following the incident, the Fire Department of the city of New York placed Jackson on administrative duty, according to ABC News.
Rennix’s family is suing the city for wrongful death, and their attorney, Sanford Rubenstein, said that they want to ensure that this same type of tragedy never happens again.
“We want to let this arrest set an example for EMS workers across the country—that if you fail to respond, you will be criminally prosecuted,” Rubenstein told AOL News.
Green was shot and killed in a New York nightclub in July. Authorities say the cases are unrelated.
Despite Green’s failure to render aid, Rennix’s mother Cynthia expressed her sympathy for the slain EMT and his family.
“As a mother who has been through this kind of loss, I have to feel for his family,” Cynthia Rennix told the Post following the incident. “Even though what he did to my daughter was an injustice, I am sorry for him and especially, for his mother.”
If convicted, Jackson faces up to one year in prison.