City of Philadelphia sued over paramedics’ handling of pregnant woman

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 Surveillance video showing ambulance workers entering a residence without equipment. (Video provided by attorney Royce Smith)

Surveillance video showing ambulance workers entering a residence without equipment. (Video provided by attorney Royce Smith)

Philadelphia is being sued because two paramedics failed to follow procedures when responding to a call from a pregnant woman with a history of medical problems.

The woman didn’t survive the incident, and her child suffered brain damage.

Joanne Rodriguez called 911 on Oct. 1, 2012, complaining of difficulty breathing and chest pain. Surveillance video provided by attorney Royce Smith shows paramedics entering the house without any medical equipment. It was about 10 minutes before they administered oxygen.

Once they got to the hospital, they had another problem, Smith said.

“The ambulance doors would not open, despite several attempts by the medics inside that ambulance. They could not open the doors … the locks were jammed,” he said. “Joanne and her unborn son were trapped.”

Eddie Rodriguez said he’s suing over his wife’s death to send a message to the city.

“A lawsuit won’t bring Joanne back, it won’t free Xavier from his disability. It won’t ever heal the loss and pain this family has endured, but, hopefully, it will make the city realize that anyone that calls 911 deserves better than this,” he said.

The two paramedics, who were suspended, were told they violated several state regulations while treating Rodriguez.

City officials would not comment, citing the pending litigation. A representative of the firefighters union defended the medics, saying they are constantly pushed physically and mentally to the brink of exhaustion.

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