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New York EMT Suspended Without Pay After Helping Choking Child

"I'd do it again. If I know there's a child choking, I'm going to do my best to help her."

A New York City EMT who was reportedly suspended without pay for making an "unauthorized stop" to try to save a choking girl’s life says he has no regrets about his decision.

"I'd do it again," Qwasie Reid, an EMT with the company Assist Ambulance, told Fox News this week. "If I know there's a child choking, I'm going to do my best to help her."

Reid had reportedly been in an ambulance with his partner on Oct. 21 transporting a nursing home patient to a doctor’s appointment when he says they were flagged down near a Brooklyn school by a "frantic man."

The man told them a student was choking.

Ignoring the advice of his partner to stay in the vehicle, Reid told Fox News that he immediately hopped out of the ambulance and rushed to the student -- a 7-year-old first-grader at PS 250 named Noelia Echavarria.

Noelia had reportedly started choking while eating a sandwich.

According to WABC-TV, Reid "immediately cleared out the little girl's mouth, put an oxygen mask on her, used a defibrillator and started CPR."

Reid told the news outlet that Noelia was already "blue in the face and lips" when he got to her. He added that no one at the school was giving first aid to the girl.

DNAInfo reports that the fire department arrived a few minutes after Reid started CPR on Noelia. The child was rushed to the hospital, but has reportedly remained unresponsive and on life support at NYU Langone Medical Center since then.

Doctors say the child is brain-dead, but her family told WABC that they are "praying for a miracle."

Reid says that he was suspended without pay by Assist Ambulance for violating a company policy that forbids making any unauthorized stops. However, the EMT told DNAInfo that he believes the choking student took priority over the elderly patient in the ambulance, whom he had left in his partner’s care.

"As an EMT, I don’t care about your money," Reid told the outlet. "There was a child choking. I’m worried about them firing me, but I did a good deed. I just feel like I’m being penalized for something and I haven’t done anything wrong."

As news of Reid’s story went viral this week, many social media users have leaped to the EMT’s defense and called for his immediate reinstatement.

Assist Ambulance has yet to respond to Reid’s allegations.

PS 250 has also come under fire for its response to Noelia’s choking.

The girl’s family told the New York Daily News that staff at the school failed to act in time to save the child. They also said the school has not yet provided them with adequate details about what exactly happened that day.

"Our whole family is in pain and nobody is saying anything," Noelia’s uncle, Alex Santiago, told the Daily News. "This is a girl who woke up every morning not wanting to miss a day of school."

The Department of Education issued a statement on Tuesday defending the staff at PS 250.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Noelia and her family and school community," the department said, per WABC. "Based on the information, we believe the principal and faculty responded swiftly to the emergency, notifying 911 and the student's family immediately. We continue to monitor this situation."

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