Charges Dropped Against EMT Who Refused Care to Dying Pregnant Woman
In 2009, Melissa Jackson was on duty and in uniform when she walked to a nearby coffee shop for her coffee break and discovered that one of the employees was having a severe asthma attack. Jackson called an ambulance, but refused to help the woman. She even refused to go into the back room to see what type of medical care the woman needed.
Eutisha Rennix was six months pregnant at the time and ended up dying.
Jackson was arrested and charged with the “Flag Down Rule” which requires EMTs to treat someone if they are in uniform and called upon to do so. The chief of New York’s Emergency Medical Services supported her being prosecuted, but then suddenly flip-flopped, telling prosecutors that the “Flag Down Rule” does not apply to dispatchers because even though they are fully trained EMTs, they aren’t assigned to an ambulance, and therefore are not required to help someone when they are flagged down.
After the charges were dropped, Jackson spoke out, refusing to apologize. She said, “Apologize for what exactly?! […] I had no type of equipment to render any care because I work inside of a dispatch center behind a computer.”