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‘I thought I was going to die': NYC EMT stabbed by patient in ambulance recalls terrifying incident

EMT Julia Fatum said she’s speaking about her attack to fight for better protections for first responders and call for an increase in penalties for assaults


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By Sarah Roebuck

NEW YORK — An NYC EMT who was stabbed eight times by a patient in the back of an ambulance recalled the terrifying July 2023 attack in an interview with the New York Post.

EMT Julia Fatum, 26, said she’s speaking publicly about her attack to fight for better protections for first responders.

“Not all the cases of violence against [EMTs] get as much attention because mine was more severe than a lot of them, but it happens every day — from being spit on to being punched to being stabbed,” Fatum told The Post. “It makes me angry.”

Fatum, who became an EMT in 2019, was responding to a call with her partner regarding a man having heart trouble on July 19. Fatum was rendering aid to Rudy Garcia as the ambulance was pulling into the hospital bay.

Before the ambulance stopped, court records state Garcia threw a gum wrapper at Fatum who asked him to stop.

Garcia responded, “F—k you,” pulled out a kitchen knife from his sock and slashed the EMT with it, prosecutors said.

Fatum called out to her partner who brought the ambulance to a screeching halt. Fatum attempted to escape through the back doors, but the lock was jammed, she said. That’s when Garcia stabbed Fatum in her left arm.

“You stop feeling things physically and you just go into your mind,” Fatum told The Post. “It’s just, like, ‘Wow’ ... I never thought it would happen to me, and now I think I’m going to die.”

Garcia stabbed Fatum seven more times, including in her leg, thumb and chest, puncturing a lung.

“I noticed that the knife dropped, and I rushed to stand up enough to reach the emergency latch,” she told The Post. “Once it finally opened I threw myself out of the ambulance onto the ground.”

Fatum has not returned to work since the attack and said she has lingering nightmares.

“I thought I was going to die,” Fatum told The Post.

In April, Fatum launched a petition that calls for state oversight measures to improve safety for EMS providers.

The petition also calls for “an increase in criminal penalties for those found guilty of assaulting EMS providers.”

Fatum said she plans to move forward in healthcare as a physician’s assistant.

Every contract carries the potential for violence. In the video below, Gordon Graham covers tips fire and EMS personnel can uses to keep them safe on emergency scenes: