The Brooklyn EMT who didn’t want to interrupt a coffee break with a boyfriend to tend to a dying, pregnant woman was cleared of criminal charges Tuesday after a top EMS chief who had supported her prosecution did an about-face, saying she didn’t violate departmental rules, prosecutors said.
Melisa Jackson, 27, was on-duty in December 2009 when she bought coffee at an Au Bon Pain in FDNY’s Brooklyn Metrotech headquarters and frantic workers, spotting her EMS uniform, begged her to help employee Eutisha Rennix who was having a serious asthma attack in a back room.

Jackson called 911 from her cellphone as Rennix, 25 and six months pregnant, gasped for air. But the EMT never went to the back to personally check on the woman, who died along with her unborn baby.

“Ms. Rennix did die that day … and the defendant had her coffee,” prosecutor Kevin Richards said in Brooklyn Criminal Court before asking the judge to dismiss the case.

“The defendant did what amounted to a little more than nothing.”


(Melisa Jackson arrives with her attorney Benjamin Heinrich at Brooklyn Criminal Court on June 25.)

In the call Jackson made, she giggled four times and asked that her name not be used, Richards said, adding that two firefighters who were later approached by workers of the downtown Brooklyn café immediately rushed to help. EMS Chief Abdo Nahmod had said that the EMT violated the “Flag Down Rule,” which states that uniformed medics must provide treatment if called to do so. That led to Jackson’s October 2010 arrest.

But according to prosecutors, Nahmod reversed his position on the eve of trial. In a letter to prosecutors, Nahmod said the rule doesn’t actually apply to personnel not assigned to an ambulance or a special event. The case should be dropped, he said, leaving prosecutors no choice but to ask for dismissal.

Defense attorney Benjamin Heinrich said charges of official misconduct should have never been brought in the first place, arguing his client “did all she could by calling for help,” and that Rennix was the irresponsible party for not going to the hospital earlier despite a medic’s recommendation. “I did everything that I was able to do,” a relieved Jackson said after the hearing was over. “I had no type of equipment to render any care.”

The mother of the 25-year-old victim, who had filed a suit against the city, said she’s disturbed by the sudden turn of events.
“There should be justice done,” Cynthia Rennix, 64, said. “Somebody has to take responsibility for what happened.”

Jackson “has no feelings and no conscious of a human being,” the mother said. “She should have had some kind of compassion.”
Family lawyer Sanford Rubenstein said the dismissal of the criminal case should have no bearing on the civil case the Rennix family brought against the city, which in a previous motion to dismiss the lawsuit had argued that Jackson had no duty top help.
“It’s disgraceful,” he said of Nahmod’s change of position.

Jackson, who’s been assigned for clerical work for the 32 months her case was pending, said she hopes to have her old job back. She sleeps well at night and wouldn’t do anything differently, she added.

DAMN, that’s cold!!

Gumbumpers, what do you think?

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