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article imageEMT suspended without pay for trying to save choking girl's life

By Phyllis Smith Asinyanbi     Oct 30, 2015 in Health
New York - Qwasie Reid, an emergency medical technician (EMT), was flagged down last week at a red light while transporting a patient. After entering a school and helping a 7-year-old choking girl, the EMT was suspended without pay.
The elderly man who was being transported from an eye clinic to a nursing home was left in the ambulance with a partner. The co-worker discouraged Reid from responding, because of company rules, which specify not stopping unless it's in response to a direct call.
Meanwhile, Reid, 25, responded to the cries for help from school officials. The medic said he knew the girl's situation was urgent, but the man in the ambulance was in stable condition.
The EMT reports that upon entering Public School 250, he found the girl lying in a hallway, but no adults were helping her. She was unresponsive and her face was blue.
The child had choked on a sandwich. Her parents believe she tried to finish too quickly, as she complained previously about being rushed by teachers.
Reid proceeded to unblock her airway, which had been obstructed. He then proceeded to call 911. He believes his call was the first one to 911, but PS 250 personnel stated they had already called. A New York City hall spokesman said dispatchers received two calls from the school simultaneously.
The 7-year-old child was identified as Noelia Echavarria. She was taken to NYU Langone Medical Center, and Reid rode along with her. She has since been declared brain dead and remains on life support. The New York Post reported that the family is hoping that somehow she will recover, per family lawyer, David Perecman.
Although Reid, reportedly, was suspended without pay, he said, "I don't regret it. I'd do it again. If I know there's a child choking, I'm going to do my best to help her."
Reid shared his thoughts on the indefinite suspension, "What am I going to do? This is what I signed up for, and I’m being penalized for what I was actually supposed to do. This is ridiculous." He said Assist Ambulance doesn't care about patients unless there's money involved.
But the EMT said he's already looking for another job. As Reid looks, he can pay some of his bills, because a "gofundme" page has garnered over $5,000. The effort was initiated by someone who read the heroic EMTs story.
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