A U.S. paramedic has actually been suspended for helping a young girl who was choking, simply because the ambulance stop was “unauthorised”.
Qwasie Reid, an EMT in New York City, was transporting an elderly patient to a hospital appointment when the ambulance was flagged down by a “frantic man” near a Brooklyn school.
The paramedics were told that a child inside the school was choking and, ignoring his partner’s advice to stay in the ambulance, Reid ran to help the seven-year-old girl who had reportedly started choking while eating a sandwich.
He told WABC-TV that the girl, Noelia Echavarria, was already “blue in the face and lips” when he reached her. None of the staff at the school had administered first aid to the child, but Reid reportedly cleared out her mouth, affixed an oxygen mask, used a defibrillator and delivered CPR.
The New York fire department arrived at the school a few minutes after Reid and continued to administer CPR to the girl.
However, following his quick thinking actions, Reid claims he was subsequently suspended without pay by his employer Assist Ambulance Company, because the firm’s policy forbids paramedics from making any unauthorised stops.
Speaking to DNAInfo, Mr Reid said he would “do it again”, even if he risked being fired.
As an EMT, I don’t care about your money. There was a child choking. I’m worried about them firing me, but I did a good deed. I just feel like I’m being penalised for something and I haven’t done anything wrong. This is my situation. It sucks. Most people get rewarded and I’m being penalized.
Noelia was rushed to hospital on October 21 but, tragically, she died in hospital two days later after doctors turned off her life support.