Police officers, EMTs, and firefighters often go above and beyond in order to save the lives of people they don’t even know. At times, they even put their own lives in danger to help people during emergencies.
According to a family from Brooklyn, New York, however, that’s not what happened when they called for help one day in late October of 2018. Instead of helping a nurse in distress, the family claims the first responders actually wasted precious time and ended up costing him…
A New Home
After leaving their home in Lagos, Nigeria, the family made their new home in Flatlands, Brooklyn. It was there that Quam Ahmodu, who was just three years old at the time his parents moved to New York, was raised and grew up.
A Bright Child
According to the Ahmodu family, Quam had always been kind, bright, and responsible. Quam was always smart and driven in school and managed to graduate high school at just 16 years old after skipping the fourth grade. After that, Quam enrolled in the nursing program at the New York City College of Technology.
A Passionate Student
For Quam, nursing was the perfect career. “I believe that nursing is a profession that is achieved; not given,” Quam once wrote on the school’s website. “I believe that nursing is not just my ‘job’, it’s my character. I believe that the true meaning of nursing should manifest in all that I do.”
A Dream Job
After graduating and getting his nursing license, Quam got a job working as a nurse at a Brooklyn hospital. After that, he got a job working as a school nurse at a local charter elementary school. For Quam, who loved children, it was a dream job.
Happy To Help
“He said, ‘I would sit in my office and the kids would come and play with me, the kids love me,’” Wasiu Ahmodu, Quam’s father, told BuzzFeed News. According to Quam’s family and neighbors, he was always happy to help people out and would sometimes watch the neighbors’ kids if they were desperate.
The Hospital Visit
However, things started to change with the 24-year-old in the fall of 2018. On Saturday, October 20, Quam checked himself into the hospital. He explained to both doctors and his family that he believed his girlfriend was cheating on him. As a result, he was feeling depressed.
Taking A Personal Day
Quam was discharged from the hospital the next day, and the doctors told him it would be best to go home and get some rest. By the following Monday, however, things hadn’t improved. Quam decided to take the day off from work and called in sick.
A Sign Of Improvement
According to Wasiu, he also took the day off to spend time with his son, who spent the entire day in his bed. That day, Wasiu decided to make another doctors appointment for the next morning at 9 a.m. However, by Monday night, Quam seemed to be doing better.
Wasiu was relieved and figured Quam wouldn’t need the appointment anymore. However, things took a turn for the worse after the family went to bed for the night. In the early hours of Tuesday, October 23, Quam woke up and started acting erratically.
After waking his parents up, Quam told them that he was going out to the gas station near their home. According to Wasiu, Quam said that he needed to go out and play the lottery. Wasiu begged his son to wait as it was too early in the morning.
The First 911 Call
As time passed, Quam became increasingly angry and irritated with his family. At one point just before 6 a.m., the 24-year-old called 911. He told the emergency dispatcher that his family wouldn’t let him leave the house and then hung up on the dispatcher.
An EDP Call
Just a few minutes later, Zainab Ahmodu, Quam’s sister, called 911. This time, she explained that her brother was acting crazy and that something was wrong. She told the dispatcher that Quam needed to be hospitalized. At that point, first responders were notified about an “EDP call”.
The First Responders
An EDP call is a call for an emotionally disturbed person, and both officers from the 63rd Precinct and FDNY EMTs responded to it. When they arrived at the Brooklyn home about five minutes later, they found Quam being held down by both his father and cousin.
Calling In A Second Ambulance
According to officers, Quam was acting aggressively at that point and was still trying to escape the house. As a result, the officers handcuffed him and left him sitting on a couch in the home. Unfortunately, they couldn’t take him straight to the hospital because they only had an ambulance with basic life support equipment.
A Safety Precaution
Since Quam was in distress and being aggressive, officers called for another ambulance that had sedatives. In order to safely transport him to the hospital, they decided he would need to be sedated. About two minutes after they started waiting for the second ambulance, however, Quam started frantically complaining.
Begging For Help
According to his family, Quam started complaining that he couldn’t breathe and begged for them to give him oxygen. “He was telling the ambulance guy, ‘I can’t breathe, I’m not faking it,’” Wasiu explained. “‘I’m a registered nurse’ — he was saying it loudly. ‘I can’t breathe. I’m not faking it.’”
Refusing To Help
According to the official report, EMTs tried to give Quam an oxygen mask but he tried to bite them. His family, on the other hand, denied that happening. A few minutes later, Quam passed out and urinated on himself. His family begged first responders to take him to the hospital, but they refused to do anything.
Quam’s Condition Worsens
First responders claimed they still needed to wait for the second ambulance with the sedatives as Quam could wake up at any moment. At one point, Quam stopped breathing and officers couldn’t find a pulse. Paramedics began CPR until the other ambulance arrived less than 20 minutes after they first arrived at the home.
Quam was then taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, but it was tragically too late. He was pronounced dead when he arrived. Now, the Ahmodu family are considering civil action. “The system failed me. That’s what I said to the detective that spoke with me at the hospital: that the system failed me,” Wasiu said. “The first responders, they didn’t do nothing.”
Disputing The Accusation
“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 News. “How, as EMTs, could you not do something?” Authorities, on the other hand, claim the first responders did nothing wrong.