Pregnant woman dies after paramedics 'refuse to help'

New York officials are investigating two emergency medical practitioners [EMT] after they allegedly refused to help a pregnant woman who collapsed while they were taking a break, the New York Post has reported.

According to witnesses, when the Fire Department paramedics were approached for help during their coffee break, they suggested the staff call 911.

They left when they were asked to help Eutisha Revee Rennix, an employee at the downtown Brooklyn coffee shop Au Bon Pain.

It is believed that 25-year-old Rennix had suffered a seizure and was struggling to breathe.

An ambulance was called by her fellow employees, and she was taken to hospital but later died along with her unborn baby girl.

In response to the incident the Fire Department of New York suspended the medical practitioners involved, without pay while investigations continue, spokesman Steve Ritea said.

"Our people tend to spring into action whether they're on duty, off duty, whatever they're doing," said Robert Ungar, spokesman for the Uniformed EMTS and Paramedics, FDNY, explaining that Emergency medical practitioners consider themselves to be on call 24 hours a day.

The local EMTs have a "very strong bond with the people of New York City that they serve," he said. "They view themselves as always being on duty."

The union is awaiting the results of the investigation, "If there was unprofessional conduct by these EMTs, the union does not condone any type of conduct which in any way can harm members of the public," he said.

Furious at the incident, Mayor Michael Bloomberg reportedly blasted the two EMTs, "It was unconscionable, [an] outrage, pick some adjectives and stick it in," and then called for a return to common decency.

"The Fire Department, including EMS, is responsible for life-saving, and their first responsibility is to do that," the mayor said. "But even if they weren't part of the Fire Department sworn to protect all of us, just normal human beings, drop your coffee and go help somebody if they're dying. C'mon."

Rennix leaves behind a toddler son and grieving family.

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