Medical emergency interrupts trial

The trial of five immigration officers and two civilians was interrupted on Wednesday when the man serving as Spanish-language interpreter had a medical emergency.

Witnesses said court recessed at 10:56 a.m. after the man indicated a need to go to the hospital. Earlier he had asked for cold water, which one of the defendants provided to him. He indicated chest pain and said he did not feel well.

One of the attorneys phoned 911 and a team of emergency medical technicians responded within minutes. They left their stretcher in the courthouse downstairs lobby; there is no elevator to the second floor, where the courtroom was located.

The EMTs tended to the man and called for “lift assistance” from the Fire Department. A seated stretcher was used to move him from the courtroom down the stairs to the lobby, where he was then placed on another stretcher and wheeled to the ambulance waiting in front of the courthouse.

Acting Deputy Fire Chief Ricardo Charlton said his officers who responded were in the area for another matter when the call came in for assistance.

Such requests are not frequent, he noted, but “when called, we know how to deal with it.” All officers have basic first aid training, he added.

A member of the court staff later reported that the stricken man was being transported to the hospital at Health City in East End.

The trial resumed at 11:29 a.m. with another interpreter. The defendants are charged with conspiring to commit fraud on the government by arranging for payment of rewards as consideration for giving assistance to candidates to pass the English language test required of work permit applicants from countries in which the primary language is not English.