ONLY ON SHEEPSHEAD BITES: Emergency responders left Shaun Smith to die because she is transgender, claims a lawsuit brought by the victim’s mother. The Sheepshead Bay attorney representing her says it’s part of a disturbing national trend of discrimination against transgender patients.
The allegations stem from a June 15, 2012, incident, when Smith’s mother, Jenette Cox called 911 after Smith – a transgender woman who was born a man – went into diabetic shock. When EMS responders arrived on the scene and found the victim to be transgender, they failed to render services, Cox alleges.
“This is somebody who needed urgent care and didn’t get it, and basically what stopped them were breasts on an originally male body,” said Ilya Novofastovsky, the Sheepshead Bay attorney representing Cox in the malpractice and discrimination case against the NYPD and the FDNY, which operates the EMS.
Novofastovsky said discrimination against transgender people by emergency responders and medical workers is a nationwide problem that causes a delay or absence of care, and leads to additional suffering and even death for the patient.
Court papers state Smith, who had no history of diabetes, died of diabetic ketoacidosis, which results from a shortage of insulin.