Detroit EMT who refused to aid infant under police investigation

Supervisor repeatedly orders EMT Thomas to respond to the 9-month-old in cardiac arrest

DETROIT — The Detroit Police Department is investigating the refusal, despite repeated direct orders from her supervisor, of Detroit EMT Ann Marie Thomas to respond to a 911 call for an infant not breathing.

Documents and audio transcripts obtained by Local 4 give a minute-by-minute account of the communications between Thomas, an EMS supervisor, and 911 dispatcher. It took Thomas and her partner seven minutes to reach the scene in her rapid-response SUV – Romeo 33, but they waited outside for nine minutes before entering with the ambulance crew.

The May 30 incident began when 8-month-old I’Nayah Wright-Trussell stopped breathing in her home and her mother called 911. An ambulance – Medic 51 – was dispatched, but had a 17-minute estimated response time because rain and traffic.

Recorded communications
Thomas: "Thirty-three is in position on Pembroke, around the corner from the scene."

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?"

The dispatch record shows Thomas wanted a police officer on-scene before she responded.

911: "Romeo 33?"

Romeo 33: "Thirty-three. We copy that. You got ETA on transporting unit?"

Medic 51: "Fifteen minutes, sir."

911: "Fifteen minutes, Romeo 33."

Dispatch continues to radio Thomas, but she doesn’t answer. During that time Thomas called her supervisor on a cellphone.

911: "Romeo 33?"

Thomas: "Dispatch is not letting us go in position on this run."

Supervisor: "What do you have?"

Thomas: "It’s a baby not breathing, no scout (police officer) available. I’m not about to be on no scene 10 minutes doing CPR. You know how these families get."

To get Thomas on the radio and on the record, the supervisor tells her to call him on a private channel. The ambulance reports that it is delayed by traffic and rain.

Medic 51: "Fifty-one, our ETA is about 12 minutes, but we’re on the freeway and it’s downpouring right now. There’s traffic everywhere."

The supervisor confirms that there are no known safety concerns about the scene and that is just the infant and her mother.

The supervisor gives Thomas a direct order.

Supervisor: "Thirty-three, I’m going to need you to make that scene. I’m going to be en route here, if the scene starts to -- if you feel uncomfortable once you’ve made patient contact, then you can clear the scene, but you’re going to have to make patient contact."

Thomas does not answer or acknowledge the order and it is given again.

Supervisor: "I’m going to need you to make the scene. If the scene is hostile, if the scene turns hostile, clear the scene. You’re going to have to make patient contact."

The dispatcher updates the responders that CPR is in progress.

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."

Thomas: "Thirty-three. Fifty-one is still giving a 12-minute ETA."

Supervisor: "Ma’am, you have to make contact with your patient. There’s nothing in the comments that state you have a hostile scene. You have to make contact with your patient."

Thomas and her partners finally enter the home with the Medic 51 crew.

Medic 51: "I have a 6-month-old female in cardiac arrest. Last time seen alive was about 30 minutes ago. Mom says she’s been doing CPR for the last 30 minutes. We’re currently doing CPR on the child. Not breathing, no pulse."

The infant was resuscitated at the hospital, but died the next day.

After the ambulance leaves the EMS supervisor asks dispatch for the time Thomas and her partner delayed.

Supervisor: "Romeo 33. How long did they delay?"

911: "So, nine minutes they were in position?"

Supervisor: "Alright. You know what? I’m putting them off."

Thomas’ partner told investigators that she had no problem responding to the baby, but she was following Thomas’ lead. She likely won't face discipline.

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