NYC EMT stabbed by patient in ambulance leaves hospital
EMT Julia Taylor Fatum underwent several surgeries after being stabbed in the chest, leg and arm
By Harry Parker, Leonard Greene
New York Daily News
A smiling Julia Taylor Fatum, 25, left Mount Sinai West hospital in Midtown — the same hospital she was attacked outside of — in a wheelchair holding a cane around 11 a.m.
She has undergone multiple surgeries since she was stabbed in the chest, leg and arm July 19 by a deranged patient as her ambulance approached the emergency room.
Colleagues cheered the spunky survivor but her release did little to quell their fury over the rise of assaults against first responders, many of whom risked their own lives fighting for sick New Yorkers at the height of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m angry and upset that something like this happened to one of my sisters,” said Dario Martinez, Fatum’s work partner. “I’m happy that she’s good and that she’s going home to recover. Everybody is here to support her. We are all EMS workers and we all treat each other as sisters and brothers. We are all a big family.”
Martinez was not with Fatum when she was rendering aid to Rudy Garcia, who cursed and stabbed her repeatedly with a kitchen knife, according to cops.
But Martinez said he has suffered his own share of abuse on the job.
“I’ve been doing this for 26 years and it’s just been getting worse and worse,” Martinez said. “We’re out there to help people out and this is the way that we get repaid. People should be aware. We’re out there to try to save lives, be there to help people in their most dire need. In turn, we get stabbed, assaulted, punched, spit at. It’s been horrible.”
Garcia was taken into custody after the attack and brought to Mount Sinai West for observation.
Cops later charged him with attempted murder, assault, criminal possession of a weapon and obstructing governmental administration.
Fatum, who is from upstate Boiceville in the Catskills, was so shaken by the attack that she said she wants to leave New York City, her mother, Cara Fatum, told the Daily News in an exclusive interview Tuesday.
“It was something that no parents wants,” Cara Fatum, 43, said Wednesday outside the hospital. “It was terrifying because you really don’t think that it’s ever going to happen to you. We’re about two and a half hours away so we flew down here. It’s just been a whirlwind.”
“She’s tough and she takes on the world,” the mom added. “Us, however, we’re from a small town in upstate New York and when she chose to come here it was definitely a worry because New York City is so far away from us. But she took on the world.”
The victim’s parents said they were moved by the support their daughter has received.
“It’s been wonderful,” Fatum’s father, Charles Fatum, said. “Absolutely wonderful. Of course we worry, but she doesn’t. We have to support her. It’s just senseless. No other way to say it.”
Fatum’s mother said the attack was a wake-up call.
“I’m overwhelmed,” she said. “I can’t believe there are so many people here that can see the value in her, and I hope that this makes a difference. Julia would do it all over again. If this makes a difference in the safety of her fellow EMTs, I know that she would do it all over again.”