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Detroit EMT Fired After Being Accused Of Refusing To Help Dying Baby

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - An emergency medical technician has been fired after being accused of refusing to go to a home where an 8-month-old baby had stopped breathing.

Detroit Fire Commissioner Edsel Jenkins said Ann Marie Thomas was terminated Wednesday following an appeals hearing at the EMT's request, and he determined firing her was "the appropriate course of action."

According to an internal report obtained by WDIV-TV, the veteran EMT was less than a mile from the baby's home when she was ordered to respond to the call for help. But Thomas parked her vehicle, an emergency SUV, about a street away and called her supervisor, saying, "I'm not about to be on no scene 10 minutes doing CPR. You know how these families get," according to the report.

Dispatch: "I'm going to need you to make that scene. You're going to have to make patient contact."

No response from Thomas.

Dispatch: "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?"

No response from Thomas.

Dispatch: "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."

The report says Thomas finally made it to the home -- after a total of 19 minutes and several pleas from dispatch. The baby was eventually taken to the hospital, where she died the next morning.

Thomas was removed from service following the incident and filed an appeal. Two separate internal investigations were performed.

"Thomas refused to respond to a call for service for a baby not breathing for no reason other than not wanting to perform CPR for what she perceived to be an extended period of time," Captain Jerald James wrote in the report.

WWJ's Legal Analyst Charlie Langton said Thomas could now face criminal prosecution.

"She could be charged with willful neglect of duty, a misdemeanor charge," said Langton. "Also, she and the city could face a civil lawsuit for alleged deliberate refusal to treat a patient."

TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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