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New York city launches investigation after man forced to exit ambulance dies weeks later

City of Rochester

(NEW YORK) — An upstate New York city is launching an investigation after a man who was forced to exit an ambulance while allegedly experiencing a medical crisis died more than two weeks after the incident.


On Nov. 30, a man in the care of EMTs was told to exit an ambulance onto a city street, Rochester Mayor Malik D. Evans said at a Jan. 11 press conference.

Body camera footage of the incident released by the city of Rochester on Thursday shows local law enforcement officers pulling up to an ambulance on the street. An EMT approached the officer and said, “I don’t know what’s wrong with him, but he will not get out of our truck. And he’s got to go.”

The footage shows the EMT open the ambulance doors. Inside, the male patient can be seen sitting up on what appears to be a gurney with another EMT in the back of the vehicle who appears to be holding a stethoscope.

The officer can be heard ordering the man out of the vehicle. The man responds, “I couldn’t breathe.” The man then begins to put on his jacket and an EMT is heard saying, “You told us you had pain from drinking water, then you came in and you jumped at me … and would not let go of me.”

The man in the ambulance then said to the officer, “I was freaking out. You’d freak out too if you can’t breathe.” The officer responded: “I hear you, I’d probably try to control myself a little bit better.”

As the patient exits the vehicle, he can be heard asking, “Can you take me to the hospital?”

One person can be heard saying “No,” while the EMT can be heard saying, “We tried to take you, honey, but that was — that was unacceptable. There was no reason for that.”

The man got out of the ambulance and sat on a bench on the sidewalk. He was told to wait on the street for another ambulance to arrive to take him to the hospital. A City of Rochester spokesperson told ABC News it does not have information on whether the man was later transported to a hospital by another ambulance crew.

In the surveillance footage, the man can be seen falling over and laying on the ground for more than 2 minutes after he exits the ambulance, with officers standing nearby before he is rendered aid.

The city has a contract with AMR, a private ambulance and emergency medical services company, that was handling this call.

In a statement to ABC News, AMR said that it has “reached out to the family and do not have permission to speak about the details of this incident due to patient privacy laws.”

The statement continued, “We viewed the video for the first time Wednesday and have launched an internal investigation. We have also requested an investigation by the New York State Department of Health Bureau of EMS and Trauma Systems.”

Rochester Police Chief David Smith has called for an immediate internal investigation of the incident by RPD’s Professional Standards Section.

Family members of the man told Evans that their loved one had passed away more than two weeks later from the health emergency “that he had called to get help to address,” Evans said.

“City residents are people and they deserve to be treated humanely and with the same attention as anyone else,” Evans said.

“They just know that their brother, that their father, that their cousin called for ambulance services and that they got a call saying that he was dead,” said Evans. “But they have not gotten information yet. They’ve gotten zero information what happened here.”

More information about his illness and his death has not yet been released by officials.

Evans called for AMR to investigate internally during the Jan. 11 press conference.

“I want to know why they chose to call the police,” said Evans. “I want to know why personnel required someone in distress to be removed from an ambulance instead of being taken directly to the hospital.”

“Even though this was a medical scene, there are lessons to be learned for all involved,” said Evans. “We must get to the bottom of this. We must understand how and why this occurred, and we must identify processes and safeguards to ensure that it does not happen again.”

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