Noelia Echavarria died in hospital three days after a paramedic tried to save her from choking.
Noelia Echavarria died in hospital three days after a paramedic tried to save her from choking.

Paramedic suspended after stopping to help choking child

A US paramedic has reportedly been suspended without pay for making an "unauthorised" stop to try to save the life of a choking little girl.

Qwasie Reid, an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) in New York City, was transporting a nursing home patient to a doctor's appointment in an ambulance last week when he was flagged down by a "frantic man" near a Brooklyn school who said a student was choking.

Ignoring his partner's advice to stay in the ambulance, he went to help the seven-year-old who had reportedly started choking while eating a sandwich.

According to WABC-TV, Mr Reid "cleared out the little girl's mouth, put an oxygen mask on her, used a defibrillator and started CPR."

Qwasie Reid, an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) in New York City.
Qwasie Reid, an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) in New York City.

Mr Reid told the TV station that the girl, Noelia Echavarria, was already "blue in the face and lips" when he got there but that no one at the school had administered first aid.

He said he was subequently suspended without pay by his employer, Assist Ambulance.Company, because the firm's policy forbids paramedics from making any unauthorised stops.

Mr Reid said although he was worried he could get fired he would "do it again" because he believed in that moment the choking girl took priority over the elderly patient who was being looked at by his partner.

He told DNAinfo: "As an EMT, I don't care about your money.

"There was a child choking. I'm worried about them firing me, but I did a good deed. I just feel like I'm being penalised for something and I haven't done anything wrong."

The New York fire department arrived at the school a few minutes after Mr Reid and began to administer CPR.

Noelia was rushed to hospital on 21 October but died in hospital on 23 October after doctors turned off life support.

Assist Ambulance has so far not responded to local media's requests for comment.



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