The New York Police Department has suspended Officer Alfonso Mendez, 30, who is accused of refusing to help Carmen Ojeda revive her daughter, Briana Ojeda, 11. Mendez allegedly refused to perform CPR on the little girl who later died.
The NYPD had to hunt down Mendez who did not report the incident. He was identified from photos by witnesses.
The mother had called 911 but then tried to drive Briana to Long Island College Hospital. Mendez stopped Ojeda and, according to her, was surly and hostile to her request for CPR. She says that Mendez stated that he did not know CPR despite the fact that all officers are trained in CPR.
Mendez then followed her to the hospital and then disappeared.
Internal affairs did some good solid police work to find the officer, including going through gasoline receipts. One showed that Mendez stopped to fill his vehicle that day in the area.
Any torts lawsuit would likely face a causation challenge as to whether CPR would have helped the little girl. This would be established by expert testimony given her condition once she arrived at the hospital. In this case, the little girl was suffering from an asthma attack. There is clearly a case of negligence against the officer and the city in such a circumstance. Even with discipline, Mendez was still an employee of the MPD, which is responsible for his conduct under the doctrine of respondeat superior.
We have seen other such cases involving callous or hostile officers during medical emergencies (here and here and hereand here and here) . We have also seen cases where distraught family members are charged for trying to help their loved one. However, it is difficult to follow any resulting lawsuits. Obviously, the vast majority of officers would never respond in such a fashion to a dying child. This is all the more reason to not simply discipline but to remove officers who are found to lack such basic human sentiments when they are identified. You cannot teach or train officers to be human. You have to be born and raised with it.
Various sites state that CPR is used for asthma victims and helps a little but the most important thing is to get the person to the hospital as quickly as possible. One site states:
If someone has an asthma attack and collapses, what should a person do? Will CPR help?
If someone collapses from an asthma attack, it is because he or she is not getting enough oxygen. This is because all the lung’s small airways have narrowed and are not allowing enough air to reach the air sacs. Mouth to mouth respiration may help a little. The real need is to get this person to an emergency department so that the patient can receive medications and emergency endotracheal intubation (a tube in the main airway).
It is not clear if that Mendez used his siren to clear traffic. The reports say only that he followed them, which would suggest that he did not lead with a siren to quicken the trip.
Source: NY Daily News