NEW YORK (CBS 2) — A New York City emergency medical technician surrendered Tuesday to face charges for failing to help a pregnant woman who later died.

It had been hanging over her head for 10 months. On Tuesday the charge came down.

Melisa Jackson. 23, an FDNY EMT has been accused of official misconduct for failing to aid 25-year-old Eutisha Rennix — a pregnant woman who collapsed at a coffee shop while Jackson and her EMT boyfriend were taking a break, reports CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

“Melisa Jackson is the only person that morning who bears no responsibility and yet she stands here before you,” attorney Ben Heinrich said. “It’s a shame, a shame on the system.”

Heinrich said Jackson at least called 911, while others, including Rennix’s boyfriend, did nothing.

A lawyer for the Rennix family said that’s a poor excuse.

“The father of the baby is not a trained a trained emergency medical technician and doesn’t have a duty, as she did, which she failed to do, which was to provide aid to someone in need,” Sanford Rubenstein said.

“She failed to perform her duty and I think it was a very inhumane act. You know, no feelings for someone who cried for help,” the victim’s mother said.

The dead woman’s mother also said the charge against Jackson is some measure of comfort but it doesn’t bring her daughter back.

Rennix had a young son who now lives with his grandmother.

The family is suing the city, Jackson’s employer.

Tony Aiello

Comments (20)
  1. Michelle says:

    I am torn in between. I don’t think that she should be held completely to her duty, but I do find it horrible that someone who is trained to help a person in need doesn’t simple because they want to finish their coffee. Anyone who had enough knowledge to help should have regardless of their profession and duty.

  2. Billy says:

    It was inhumane and barbaric. A croissant versus helping a human being………For those who know certain family traits, and for others who may find out in time, it should not be a surprise.

    1. DanTe says:

      And how would they have helped “Billy”? That woman required a special ambulance. The regular one that showed up couldn’t do a thing.

      What is “inhumane and barbaric” is ignoramuses like you who spew politically correct sound bites without looking at the facts. Facts are too hard to things like you.

  3. Eric C from NY says:

    “On duty” and “off duty” are semantics. It doesn’t matter if she was shopping at the time or getting her nails done. She has a responsibility to act in good faith. Besides, she wouldn’t be brought up on charges if she didn’t have an obligation.

    However, calling 911 DOES count as helping, albeit not up to the standards of an EMT. Law states that professionals who are trained as a first responder are required, by oath, to act under the scope of his or her training. Failing to do so can open yourself up to criminal and civil liability.

    All the legal stuff aside– it is just the human thing to do. I personally don’t understand how she could NOT help. My conscience would never allow me to have such a blatant disregard for human life.

  4. Dee says:

    @ Laura-JO — EMT Melissa Jackson and her EMT boyfriend, Jason Green, were both on break when they refused to help. He has subsequently died in an unrelated incident in July 2010, killed outside a Manhattan nightclub.

    I suspect the dead woman’s boyfriend did nothing because there were two perfectly capable EMTs standing in front of him who might have willingly attended his ailing pregnant girlfriend if they hadn’t refused to be professionals, or even … human beings.

  5. bob says:

    There are plenty of cases of good samaritans being sued for “helping”. While in the fire academy there was a a case we studied about an off duty firefighter who pulled up onto a car that flipped over and was burning, he pulled the 2 passengers out and was sued when one of the passengers was paralyzed from the waste down…. It sounds horrible but the EMT did not have to help.

  6. CB says:

    I don’t care if she was on “break”. If she was “on-duty”, she has a “duty to act”. State law.

    1. DanTe says:

      Post the link to the “law”. Go ahead. Post it.

      Hint: if you have to LIE to make your point, you have NO point.

  7. Laura-Jo says:

    Why was her boyfriend not charged? He is an EMT too? They both could have helped the woman until the ambulance got there.

    1. Tony Aiello says:

      FROM TONY AIELLO: due to an editing error on my part, the information about the boyfriend was not included in this report. The boyfriend, EMT Jason Green, died last summer. He was shot and kiilled near a nightclub in Soho, apparently after fighting with a man over a parking spot. Thanks for visiting

  8. Jd says:

    No duty? On break? U r part of the problem.

  9. Raymond says:

    Why don’t you wait until you know all the facts????

  10. judith says:

    This is a dumb lawsuit, i smell $$$.. why is someone that is trained obliged to help anyone during their break! She was on break! I am sorry if it sounds selfish but what the heck! During her break she is like everyone else, and she called 911.

    1. Dan says:

      Are you stupid? It’s her job! What kind of idiotic, self absorbed person would do such a thing? If you don’t value human life, don’t be a EMT!

      1. DanTe says:

        Are YOU stupid, Dan??

        Her job? She’s OFF Duty. How about you? You do work Off Duty?

        And what would she have done? Even the ambulance that came had to wait for a special unit because this genetic defect had a really bad defect.

  11. Big Ugly says:

    type – ‘provide

  12. Big Ugly says:

    The police do not have a “duty” to provide for your protection and an EMT has no “duty” to proved emergency care.

    1. Raymond says:

      UGLY, but true.

    2. Dan says:

      @Big Ugly

      They DO have a duty. Police, Fireman, and medical professional across the board take an oath.

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