A Brooklyn judge threw out a lawsuit against two city medics who failed to save a pregnant Au Bon Pain worker suffering an asthma attack, the New York Daily News reports.
The workers claim they didn’t help the unconscious woman because she did not request assistance. Judge Carolyn Demarest cited a state law in approving the city’s motion to drop the lawsuit, filed by Eutisha Rennix’s (pictured) family. The law says gross negligence can only be claimed if a “special duty” is owed to an incapacitated person, which can only be established if the person or an immediate family member requests assistance.
Rennix was six months pregnant when she began suffering breathing problems at a MetroTech eatery in 2009. Her co-workers lead her to a back room while another notified EMS dispatchers Melisa Jackson and Jason Green, who were both in the shop at the time.
While Jackson called 911 with her cell phone, she and Green soon left without checking on Rennix. The mother-to-be was later pronounced dead at a Brooklyn hospital. Her son, born via C-section, died two hours afterwards.
Rennix’s mother was appalled at the decision.
“I feel like the city treated my daughter in the same heartless and inhumane way that (the medics) did,” Cynthia Rennix said.
“How could my daughter have called 911 if she was unconscious? It’s crazy. And it’s unfair.”
“This technicality, which clearly is not in the interest of New Yorkers, particularly those whose wrongful death might have been prevented, must be addressed by either the appellate courts or the governor and the state Legislature,” said Rennix’s lawyer, Sanford Rubenstein.
Jackson also evaded criminal charges last year. However, she still faces disciplinary action for not assisting Rennix, per an FDNY spokeswoman. Green was killed outside a Manhattan nightclub in 2010.
“This was a tragic case, but we believe the judge made the correct legal decision,” a Law Department spokesman said.