WARNING: Some of the details of this story are graphic.
WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Department of Health has suspended the cardiac licenses of two Woonsocket EMTs after they reportedly didn’t provide proper medical care to a newborn baby.
According to the suspension summary, the EMTs responded to a call on Aug. 1 to help a woman who had prematurely given birth. They arrived to find the mother in the bathroom and the baby in the toilet.
After clamping and cutting the umbilical cord, the EMTs escorted the woman to an ambulance, the report states. When they returned to the bathroom, they found the infant wasn’t moving and had no pulse, so they wrapped it in a towel and placed it inside a biohazard bag.
The mother and infant were then transported Landmark Medical Center. The report states the mother was rushed inside for treatment, while the newborn was left inside the ambulance with another fire department employee.
When a physician asked about the baby, the EMTs brought the bag into the emergency room where hospital staff discovered the newborn still had a pulse, according to the report. Attempts to resuscitate the infant were unsuccessful, however, and the baby was pronounced dead.
The Health Department found the EMTs were grossly negligent in providing medical care to the infant, and also engaged in unprofessional conduct related to current standards of EMS practice.
Additionally, the EMTs violated federal and state law, the Health Department said, adding that “public health, safety and welfare imperatively requires emergency action” in this case.
The EMTs are able to appeal the suspension, but there’s been no word yet on whether they will do so.
12 News reached out to the Woonsocket Fire Department and other city officials for comment but has not yet heard back.