Mentally distressed Black man dies waiting for ambulance in NYC, family demands answers
EMTs, who had arrived in an ambulance with basic life support functions on board, called for a second, more advanced ambulance with capabilities to sedate Quam Ahmodu, 24.
The family of a registered nurse died while waiting for 20 minutes for a second ambulance and they’re demanding answers from both the NYPD and FDNY
Quam Ahmodu, 24, died Oct. 23 Brooklyn, according to Buzzfeed. Ahmodu was suffering from a mental breakdown when just before 6 a.m., he called 911, reported that his family wouldn’t let him leave the house, and hung up, the report said.
Soon after, Ahmodu’s sister, Zainab, called 911 and said that her brother was in trouble and needed to be hospitalized.
When officers from the 63rd Precinct and FDNY EMTs arrived about five minutes later, Ahmodu being held down by his father and cousin. He was behaving aggressively and still trying to leave, the report said.
The officers handcuffed Ahmodu and sat him down on the living room couch. The EMTs, who had arrived in an ambulance with basic life support functions on board, called for a second, more advanced ambulance with capabilities to sedate Ahmodu.
But about two minutes later Ahmodu began to complain that he couldn’t breathe.
“He was telling the ambulance guy, ‘I can’t breathe, I’m not faking it,’” Wasiu said. “‘I’m a registered nurse’ — he was saying it loudly. ‘I can’t breathe. I’m not faking it.’”
An FDNY official said that EMTs attempted to give Ahmodu an oxygen mask, but gave up after Ahmodu tried to bite them. The family denies that Ahmodu attempted to bite anyone.
After a few minutes, Ahmodu passed out on the couch. The family begged the first responders to move him to the first ambulance and taken to the hospital, but the medics made the decision to continue to wait because they feared that Ahmodu might wake up and attempt to attack them.
Less than 20 minutes after the first responders had arrived on the scene, the second ambulance showed up, but Ahmodu was dead.
The first responders didn’t report that Ahmodu complained about his breathing, NYPD and FDNY officials said after an initial investigation. The official cause of death is still under investigation
But NYPD and FDNY officials said that first responders handled the situation properly, including waiting for the second ambulance to arrive to ensure Ahmodu’s safe transport. That rings hollow to other medical professionals.
“When somebody is passed out, I don’t understand why you couldn’t put him in the ambulance? Somebody doesn’t pass out for no reason,” Dr. Diana Falkenbach, a forensic psychologist and associate professor at John Jay College College of Criminal Justice, told BuzzFeed. “How, as EMTs, could you not do something?”
Amadou’s father was more direct and felt that this story needed to be told after receiving little media attention in New York City.
““The system failed me,” Wasiu Ahmodu said. “That’s what I said to the detective that spoke with me at the hospital: that the system failed me. The first responders, they didn’t do nothing.”