NEW YORK - Two emergency medical technicians accused of refusing to help a pregnant woman who collapsed in the coffee shop where they were taking a break - and who later died - were suspended yesterday, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg called their behavior inexcusable.
The Fire Department of New York suspended Jason Green, a six-year veteran, and Melissa Jackson, a four-year veteran, without pay while the Dec. 9 incident is investigated, spokesman Steve Ritea said.
Witnesses, first interviewed by the New York Post, said that the EMTs told employees at the eatery in downtown Brooklyn to call 9-1-1 and then left when they were asked to help Eutisha Revee Rennix, an employee who had collapsed.
An ambulance was called, and Rennix, 25, was taken to Long Island College Hospital, where she died shortly after. Her baby was too premature to survive. A message left by the Associated Press for Rennix's mother yesterday wasn't immediately returned.
Home-telephone listings for Jackson and Green weren't available. A call to the EMT's union office wasn't immediately returned.
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."
A union spokesman said yesterday that EMTs generally consider their jobs to be a 24-hour kind of thing.
"Our people tend to spring into action whether they're on duty, off duty, whatever they're doing," said Robert Ungar, spokesman for the Uniformed EMTS and Paramedics, FDNY.
The city's EMTs have a "very strong bond with the people of New York City that they serve," he said. "They view themselves as always being on duty."
He said that the union was awaiting the results of the Fire Department's investigation.
"If there was unprofessional conduct by these EMTs, the union does not condone any type of conduct which in any way can harm members of the public," he said.
Yesterday, Bloomberg repeated comments that he made over the weekend criticizing the EMTs, saying that their refusing to help went against human decency.
"There's no excuse whatsoever," he said.