EMT Stabbed Eight Times in Ambulance Attack Still Struggling to Return to Work

EMT Stabbed Eight Times in Ambulance Attack Still Struggling to Return to Work

A year after being brutally stabbed eight times by a patient in the back of her ambulance, New York City EMT Julia Fatum is still grappling with the aftermath of the harrowing attack. In an exclusive interview with The Post, Fatum recounted the terrifying incident that left her hospitalized for a week and caused lasting physical and psychological trauma.

On the night of July 19, Fatum, 26, responded to a call about a man experiencing heart trouble on the Upper West Side. She and her partner picked up Rudolph “Rudy” Garcia, a 48-year-old Bronx resident, and were en route to Mount Sinai Hospital when the situation took a violent turn. Garcia, a bald brute with a history of assaulting a police officer, suddenly became agitated and unleashed a profanity-laden tirade before brandishing a kitchen knife he had concealed in his sock.

Fatum, who was in the back of the ambulance, immediately alerted her partner, who brought the vehicle to a halt. Desperate to escape, Fatum discovered that the lock on the back doors was jammed. In a chilling sequence of events, Garcia plunged the knife into Fatum’s left arm, causing her to fear for her life. The attack continued as Garcia stabbed her five more times in the left leg, once in the thumb, and once on the left side of her chest, puncturing a lung.

Despite the excruciating pain, Fatum mustered the strength to reach the emergency latch once she noticed the knife had dropped. She threw herself out of the ambulance onto the ground, where her coworkers and hospital security rushed to her aid. Graphic video footage captured the aftermath, showing Fatum screaming and sobbing while first responders confronted Garcia, urging him to back off.

Garcia was detained until the arrival of law enforcement, who subsequently arrested him. He has been charged with second-degree attempted murder and assault with a weapon. Currently held without bail at Rikers Island, Garcia pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Fatum underwent three surgeries at Mount Sinai Hospital during her week-long stay. However, she continues to struggle with nerve damage in her left arm, which may never fully recover. The physical injuries are compounded by the psychological trauma she now endures, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and recurring nightmares.

In an effort to raise awareness and advocate for better protections for first responders, Fatum has launched an online petition. The petition calls for several measures to enhance the safety of emergency medical workers, including the issuance of bulletproof and stab-proof vests to all EMS providers and the provision of self-defense courses. Additionally, Fatum seeks an increase in criminal penalties for those found guilty of assaulting EMS providers.

Fatum’s determination to move forward in the healthcare field remains unwavering. Despite the challenges she faces in her daily life, she is preparing to begin a physician’s assistant program at Rutgers University in August. Her primary goals are to continue her recovery and complete her studies, with the hope of starting a new chapter as a PA in three years.

The alarming rise in attacks on FDNY EMTs, with a 20% increase in incidents from 2022 to 2023, underscores the urgent need for improved safety measures. While random acts of violence cannot be entirely prevented, Fatum believes that certain changes can be implemented to safeguard the lives of those who dedicate themselves to saving others.

Author: CrimeDoor

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