Family of Woman Ignored by EMTs Considering Autopsy

The family of a pregnant woman who died after collapsing in a Brooklyn coffee shop may soon order her body raised from the grave so an autopsy can be performed. 

The Medical Examiner's office has told the family an examination will be done at no charge if they decide to move forward.

Eutisha Rennix died on December 9 after two FDNY EMTs allegedly ignored cries for help as she lied dying on the floor of the Au Bon Pain store in downtown Brooklyn where she worked.  The two EMTs have been suspended as investigators try to determine if they left with their breakfast instead of helping Rennix, who was six months pregnant.  The baby died as well.

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said his office is now investigating whether any crime was committed when the uniformed personnel apparently failed to help.  The FDNY, the State Health Department and the Department of Investigations are also probing the incident.

Rennix's mother, Cynthia, called the EMTs behavior "inhuman."

The two fire department employees, six-year veteran Jason Green, 32, of Long Island City and four-year veteran Melissa Jackson, 32, of Queens Village, have been suspended without pay as the investigation continues.

The lawyer for the EMTs, Douglas Rosenthal, told NBCNewYork  that his clients are being vilified by a rush to judgment.
Witnesses said the EMTs told workers at the cafe to call 911 and then left when they were asked to help the 25-year-old woman. She died later at a hospital.

Union officials have said the two could have done more but point out the pair was working as dispatchers at fire department headquarters at the time.   City officials said Jackson did call 9-1-1 before she left the store with her breakfast.

State Health Department officials are also investigating stating it "expects EMT's to adhere by their employers code of conduct."

Meanwhile, two other EMT's from Long Island College Hospital who responded to the 9-1-1 calls were put back on duty.  Yesterday, they were placed on modified assignment but investigators have apparently determined they had acted appropriately when they arrived on scene.

Mayor Bloomberg yesterday called the EMTs actions 'unconscionable." When asked if "burnout" might have been a factor, the Mayor said, "Burnout? They were sitting there having coffee. How could they be burnt out? They're human beings.  Somebody is dying down the street and (people) say help them and they just sat there."

Rennix, who suffered from asthma, leaves behind a three year old son.  Her twin brother and mother are in shock.

"She loved her son and would do anything for anybody," said her twin brother Eduane Rennix.  "To hear it was two ems workers who didn't want to help is heartbreaking."

Union officials said most EMT's whether on duty and off - always do their best to try to save lives. 

"We never condone activity by our members that can hurt the public," said Bob Ungar, spokesman for Uniformed EMTs & Paramedics, FDNY Local 2507.

Rennix's death appears to mirror the tragic death of Esmine Green in Kings County Hospital's Psychiatric Emergency Room in June 2008.  Video showed Green collapse to the floor and yet doctors, nurses and security guards ignored her for hours.

An angry mayor said Monday most emergency workers care greatly and that the above incidents appear to be isolated events.

As for Rennix's family, they have hired attorney Sanford Rubinstein.  They say their top concern now is caring for a three year old boy who has lost his mom and does not understand why.

"He asks every day for his mommy," said Eduane Rennix.  "The other morning he woke up and said,'I have to go take care of his mommy. She'd dead.'  He doesn't understand she's not coming back." 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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