Detroit EMT fired after refusing to help baby

8-month-old girl died next morning at hospital

By Shawn Ley - Reporter

DETROIT - The Detroit fire commissioner has fired an EMT who refused to help a baby when she was just minutes away from the home.

Commissioner Edsel Jenkins said Ann Marie Thomas's employment with the Detroit Fire Department has been terminated.

"Today, we conducted an appeals hearing, which Ms. Thomas requested. After reviewing all of the facts of this incident, I have determined that the appropriate course of action is to terminate Ms. Thomas' employment with the Detroit Fire Department effective immediately," said Jenkins in a statement released Wednesday.

What happened:

A frantic supervisor ordered the veteran medic to get to the house where a baby was not breathing and her mother was calling for help. Thomas was just around the corner on her pervious run a few streets east. She refused to respond to the scene.

The 8-month-old baby was exactly 9 tenths of a mile away -- a two minute drive at normal speeds -- but Thomas took six minutes and then shocked dispatchers by telling them "33 is in position on Pembroke around the corner from the scene."

"33, I'm going to need you to make that scene," said the Detroit Fire EMS supervisor. "You're going to have to make patient contact."

Thomas parked her unit on a corner a street away from the baby. She and her partner were in a SUV outfitted to be just like an ambulance to help medics get to people faster. But in this case, Thomas refused to go to the house.

Click here to view the internal report of this incident.

911: "Uh, Romeo 33? Updated information that the child is not breathing. The baby was hooked up to an oxygen machine because it was premature. Romeo 33?"

Even with that information, Thomas and her partner didn't move.

911: "Romeo 33, Medic 51, be advised CPR is being performed on your scene. Romeo 33, Medic 51. CPR is being performed by the baby's mother."

'I'm not about to be on no scene 10 minutes doing CPR'

Two internal investigations were done. The report reads that Thomas told her boss, "I'm not about to be on no scene 10 minutes doing CPR, you know how these families get."

An ambulance eventually got the baby to a hospital. She was revived but died the next morning.

"EMT Thomas was immediately removed from duty following this incident," said Commissioner Jenkins. "She has since filed an appeal. As executive fire commissioner, I have the ability to make the ultimate determination."

Jenkins announced the firing on Wednesday.

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