New York Parents Seek Law to Compel Police to Help in Medical Emergencies

Filed under: In The News

New York City police officers are supposed to be trained -- and retrained -- in CPR and other live-saving techniques.

So why did Officer Alfonso Mendez of the 84th Precinct stand by and do nothing while 11-year-old Briana Ojeda was dying of an asthma attack Aug. 27?

He claims he didn't know what to do.

While Mendez is suspended without pay and facing other official consequences, the New York Daily News reports Briana's parents, Carmen and Michael Ojeda of Brooklyn, N.Y., are demanding passage of a law that requires officers to be retrained in CPR and first aid on an annual basis.

They currently have to be retrained every other year.The newspaper reports that the proposal, already being called Briana Ojeda's Law, also would make it a misdemeanor for police to refuse to help in a medical emergency.

"Police officers are most often the first responders to accident and aided cases, yet they are not properly trained in lifesaving techniques and recertified each year," the Ojedas say in a joint statement released Sept. 7.

New York Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, D-Brooklyn, introduced the bill this week while more than 100 supporters rallied Sept. 7 on the steps of the Brooklyn Supreme Court building.

Protestors marched from the courthouse to the 84th Precinct in Brooklyn where Mendez is assigned -- shouting, "Shame on you, NYPD!"

According to the Daily News, Carmen Ojeda and her daughter were at a Carroll Gardens playground when Briana had an asthma attack. Ojeda tells the newspaper she was making a desperate attempt to get her daughter to the hospital and drove the wrong way on a Brooklyn street, slamming into a parked car before she was stopped by Mendez.

Mendez claimed he didn't know CPR and didn't do anything to help, Carmen Ojeda and witnesses tell the newspaper. Briana died at a hospital about an hour later.

Mendez, 30, is a five-year NYPD veteran. According to the Daily News, he learned CPR in the police academy, but never took the half-day refresher course. He was suspended for not notifying his superiors of the incident, according to the Daily News.

The suspension, the newspaper reports, has nothing to do with his failure to perform CPR.

Related: Boy, 9, Saves Little Brother's Life With CPR

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.