New York City EMT Suspended For Leaving Ambulance To Help Choking 7-Year-Old, Child Now Declared Brain-Dead

An EMT from the state of New York has been suspended without pay for the simple act of trying to save the life of a young girl. The 7-year-old girl was reportedly choking on her school lunch when the ambulance Qwasie Reid was driving was flagged down and he was asked to help. However, as he made an unauthorized stop, the New York EMT is being penalized and the little girl he aided is reportedly brain-dead now.

Last Wednesday, EMT Reid and his partner are said to have been in the middle of transporting a nursing home patient when the ambulance he was driving was desperately flagged down. The Brooklyn male who did the deed announced that there was a young student who was in the middle of choking and needed immediate help. Reid placed a call in to his station and advised of the situation, even though he knew the rule of not leaving the vehicle. The EMT says he thought the life of a choking girl was more important than a simple transport job. Against the wishes of his partner, he left the care of the old man to the partner and exited the ambulance to try and save the little girl. Qwasie Reid says the girl had already begun to turn blue. Allegedly, no one at the school had been doing anything to help before he arrived.

The little girl at the center of the saga identified as 7-year-old Noelia Echavarria is now legally brain-dead, and her family is now bringing a lawsuit against the school. After choking on her school lunch and later being aided by Reid, she was transported to NYU Langone Medical Center where she is now on life support. Even though doctors have declared young Noelia brain-dead, her family cannot bring themselves to remove the life support, hoping that “she’ll make her way back.” By Reid’s estimate, Noelia was choking for about five minutes before he arrived on scene. The family of the 7-year-old is suing the school because they believe staff members should have reacted faster and done more to try and save the little girl. In addition, they say teachers often rushed her to finish her lunch and think this is what caused the choking incident this time around. The mother of the first grader also had to be hospitalized after suffering from several seizures after seeing her 7-year-old hooked up to life support.

For his role in the event, the New York Post says the EMT, Reid, has no regrets.

“I vowed to save a life, lives, as many as I could. That little girl, Noelia, superseded that gentleman that was in my ambulance that day. And I would never change anything if I had to, never…. It sucks that I’m getting penalized for trying to save someone’s life. If they’re not getting paid for the job, they don’t give a crap about you. But she was a priority for me.”

The fact that the private Assist Ambulance suspended him because it is against the ambulance company’s policy for technicians to leave their patients is secondary to Qwasie Reid. He says he’s praying that Noelia Echavarria feels better.

USA Today reports that the principal of the school PS 250, RoseAnn ­LaCioppas, sent out letters to the families of their other students insisting that all protocols were followed that day and all their teachers are trained to handle emergency situations. A spokesperson for the Department of Education says they believe that “the principal and faculty responded swiftly to the emergency, notifying 911 and the student’s family immediately.”

However, the lawyer for the Echavarria family, David Perecman, says that based on the sequence of events, he finds it troubling just how long the school took to call 911. To Perecman, it seems as if the first 911 call about Noelia choking appears to have come from the New York EMT Qwasie Reid and not the school.

“My concern is how the school responded. If he’s the first person who called 911, then the school did not. They need to have an honest investigation, not a cover-your-back investigation.”

[Photo Courtesy of YouTube screencap]

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