EMT in Detroit Refuses to Respond to Dying Infant Call

“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.” (Detroit EMS Dispatch)

In one of this nation’s most tortured cities a 10-year EMT has lost her job for her failure to do exactly what she was trained for, on Saturday, May 30.

Detroit Fire Department EMT Ann Marie Thomas’ refusal was documented on a 911 recording, when she answered the dispatcher that, “I’m not about to be on no scene 10 minutes doing CPR. You know how these families get.”

Thomas and her partner were approximately one mile away at the time. They were dispatched to resuscitate an 8-month old girl whose mother had called 911. The baby, born premature and on home oxygen to keep her alive, had apparently gone limp and was not breathing.

According to a Detroit city press release, the dispatcher can clearly be heard saying, “33, I’m going to need you to make that scene.” The dispatcher, who was in fact an EMS supervisor, repeated to Thomas,”You have to make patient contact.”

Investigators learned that Thomas, the senior EMT, pulled her EMS truck to the curb about one street away from the baby. The team typically responds to calls in an SUV as a “first response” unit, with a Paramedic ambulance to follow. But in this case, Thomas refused to go immediately to the child.

Detroit Fire Commissioner Edsel Jenkins reported this week that, “Ann Marie Thomas’s employment with the Detroit Fire Department has been terminated.”

Here’s another look at this regrettable case:


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Paramedics & Nurses & the World We Live in


The following note once hung on the wall of the nursing lounge at Mercy Hospital, San Diego. We pulled it down long enough to make a photocopy. You see it here first:

To all new staff nurses – make sure you understand the following:

  • 25% of doctors are a poor excuse for protoplasm.
  • If it’s too dry, add moisture.  If it’s too wet, dry it. Congratulations. You’re a dermatologist.
  • Always remember to never say always or never.
  • Bleeding is fine. It’s the natural fluids that kill you.
  • Treat all patients exactly the same, until they piss you off.
  • “Too stupid to live” will someday be a recognized diagnosis.
  • Some patients are demonically possessed.
  • Learn how to play, “specimen, who’s got the specimen?”
  • It is entirely possible to order food from the O.R. phone.
  • For some patients, a referral to Doctor Kevorkian is totally appropriate.
  • There really is such a thing as a, “shallow gene pool.”
  • In this place, we restrain folks even when it isn’t sexual.
  • Considering the cooties in hospitals, you will either die young or develop immune systems that can attack kittens on your front lawn.
  • When you get home tonight, build a shrine to the makers of Haldol.
  • Fine dining is anywhere you can sit down to eat.
  • At least once a month, you’ll get to hear an administrator muttering, “who in the hell is in charge of this place?”
  • Gambling on hospital property is forbidden.  Betting on the blood-alcohol level of adolescent male trauma patients is a respected art form.
  • Please contain your laughter until you exit the patient’s room.
  • Don’t worry. The lab understands if you call to order a “dumb-shit” profile.
  • As a condition of employment, you’ll be expected to sign the petition demanding aerial spraying of Prozac over downtown.
  • You will learn to compute the brain-cell-to-tattoo ratio.
  • Refrain from uttering “great veins” when meeting family members. It just makes them nervous.
  • Someday your nursing shoes will be enshrined at the CDC.
  • If you choose to slap a doctor for grabbing your breasts, try to wait until after the procedure.

God bless nurses. They stand on the front lines with no firearms at all.

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“What’s it Like to be a Paramedic?’ – Read “The Paramedic Heretic”


“I had the idea for this image recently while having a busy shift on the ambulance. We were dealing with several high acuity calls when we were called to a simple hospital transfer. I was thinking that if our patient knew what had happened on the stretcher she was sitting on, just moments ago, she wouldn’t be as at ease with where she was.
I then starting thinking of all the things that happen in the back of my ambulance when I’m not on shift.
If these walls could talk.”
(We thank Paramedic Becky Arnold Arbuckle for this poignant graphic)