Paramedic did not check pulse of living wreck victim

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

Authorities say a Texas woman was left in the wreckage of a car crash because a paramedic didn't check her pulse and assumed she was dead.

A medical examiner discovered that Erica Smith, who had been covered with a tarp, was still breathing at the scene. She was cut from the wreckage, but the 23-year-old college student died the next day.

Officials say the paramedic had judged that Smith was dead by looking at her.

San Antonio's fire chief says medical protocol "was definitely violated" in the handling of the mid-December crash.

Officials say the paramedic has been transferred to the Fire Department's firefighting division and permanently restricted from working as a paramedic in San Antonio.

Smith's father says he's still outraged by his daughter's treatment. He says coping with her death is "a struggle, minute by minute."

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