NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio is being asked to do more to protect first responders in the wake of an attack on a 20-year-old emergency medical technician as he was transporting an emotional disturbed person to the hospital.
The ambulance EMT Nicholas Cody used to transport an emotionally disturbed person on Friday night sat parked outside the emergency room at Lincoln Hospital on Monday, the decal warning that it’s a felony to attack a first responder apparently not much of a deterrent in a city where the number of of mental health 911 calls have nearly doubled in the last decade.
Nicholas was bitten, beaten and attacked by the man he was trying to help.
“He’s hurt pretty bad right now. Right now, he doesn’t have any mobility or feeling in his left arm,” Jeffrey Cody, Nicholas’ dad, told CBS2’s Marcia Kramer exclusively.
For Nicholas, who is still hospitalized as doctors try to figure out how to heal him, the attack was particularly frustrating because he just started working as an EMT five weeks ago, something he’s wanted to do all his life.
“He has been dressing up as a firefighter or EMT since he’s 3 years old for Halloween, so this has been a life-long dream,” Jeffrey Cody said.
The attack occurred at 178th and Jerome Avenue in the Mount Hope section of the Bronx. Cops arrested an emotionally disturbed man, identified in a criminal complaint as Thomas Wright, who was banging on passing cars in traffic, sources said.
It comes as the mental health 911 calls have risen from 97,132 in 2009 to nearly 180,000 last year.
“EMS has seen a significant increase in assaults. We’re talking on a daily basis we get a report of someone that was badly beaten,” said Oren Barzilay, president of EMS union Local 2507.
Barzilay lays the blame squarely on Mayor de Blasio’s doorstep.
“Mayor de Blasio, you need to do more to protect the men and women who protect and serve this city,” Barzilay said. “The city is spiraling down to a chaos where there’s no respect for nobody — buckets of water thrown at police officers, assaults on EMTs and paramedics are on a daily basis, assaults on MTA workers is on a daily basis … our city has run down to a point of no return.”
The city did announce a plan Monday to have trained mental health workers join cops in responding to 911 mental health calls, but that doesn’t help the emergency responders who have to take them in for treatment.
Nicholas Cody told Kramer all he wanted to do was help the the man who had attacked him. As he’s so into the job, he had his EMS radio at his bedside so he could listen to the calls his unit was responding to.