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MONDAY, MAY 25, 2015

Pregnant Woman Dies in Ambulance After Falling Down The Steps Family Blames Medics


A 24-year-old woman, who was nine months pregnant, died Monday while in the care of Phila-

delphia medics.

Her family spoke exclusively with NBC10′s Marisa Brahney and says they want an investigation

because they claim the medics did not provide proper care and they say a problem with the am-

bulance doors prolonged her arrival to the emergency room.  The family of Joanne Rodriguez

says they called 911 after finding the expectant mother had fallen down the stairs and was hav-

ing trouble breathing. The family says she was asthmatic and being treated for a blood clot.

“I told her (dispatcher) she fell down the steps, she’s 37 weeks pregnant, she’s hurt, she’s ly-

ing down. She’s responsive but she can’t breathe,” said Carmen Morales, aunt.  Her family

says Medic 22 took just 3 minutes to get from the firehouse to their house. Surveillance video

from the family home shows the medics walking into the house without any medical equip-

ment.  “They start looking at my niece and say ‘okay ma’am I need you to sit up.’ My niece is

telling them ‘please, I can’t breathe, I’m weak, I can’t move’ and she was like ‘you need to do

your part.’ The EMT is telling her she needs to do her part,” said Morales.  According to that

surveillance video, it took 8 minutes for the medics to bring Rodriguez out of the home and

another minute before the emergency workers gave her any oxygen.  After Rodriguez was

 loaded into the ambulance, the video shows it took another 7 minutes for the ambulance to

leave for Temple University Hospital. Rodriguez’s mother rode inside the ambulance with

her daughter.  The family says it took nearly a half hour in total before the ambulance

pulled up at the emergency room and once they did get there, the family says the ambulance

doors were stuck.  “The EMT says ‘Oh my God.’ Her heart stops beating, that’s when they

arrive to the hospital. The other EMT goes around to open the doors, they can’t open the

doors, the doors are stuck. Nobody comes out to help for ten minutes,” said Morales.  Her

aunt says the medics tried to get the door open from the inside and outside and it wasn’t

until an officer from Temple University Hospital came out to help that they got the doors

open.  Rodriguez’s baby was delivered in an emergency cesarean section and is currently

 in intensive care.  Her family believes Joanne would still be alive if she had received the

urgent care she needed. “If they would have came here better trained, with all their equip-

ment, oxygen on time, yes, she would have been maybe in the hospital still, but alive,”

said Morales.  The Fire Department says they are interviewing the medics and acknowledge

the problem with the ambulance doors, saying the department is “looking into how long the

doors were stuck” but the department tells us “they are not prepared to view the family’s

video and answer questions.”  The Rodriguez family has requested an autopsy and say re-

sults could be in by Wednesday.

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