Mom of EMT stabbed in ambulance rips New York: 'How is your bail reform working?'

Felon Rudolph 'Rudy' Garcia allegedly stabbed Julia Fatum in an NYC ambulance

The mother of a New York City EMT who police say was stabbed in her ambulance treating an emotionally disturbed man with nine prior arrests had one question for state policymakers: "How is your bail reform working?"

Julia Fatum was wheeled out of Mount Sinai West hospital Wednesday after she was stabbed in her ambulance while treating an emotionally disturbed man who had nine prior arrests.

Onlookers cheered for Fatum, 25, as she left the hospital a week after Rudolph Garcia, 48, allegedly attacked her. 

The victim's mother, Cara Fatum-Grant, wrote on Facebook that the EMS worker "still has a long road to recovery." More than $42,000 has been raised by donors on GoFundMe toward her expenses while she is unable to work.


EMTs wait and applaud outside hospital

Julia Fatum is wheeled out from Mt. Sinai West to the applause of fellow EMTs Wednesday, July, 26, 2023. Fatum was stabbed in the chest, leg and arm in her ambulance July 19. (Barry Williams for NY Daily News via Getty Images)

In a Facebook post earlier this week, the frustrated mom decried New York state’s controversial bail reform laws. Since April 2019, many New Yorkers charged with misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies have been permitted to await their trial date at home without posting a bail amount. 

"Fact: Roudolph [sic] "Rudy" Garcia, 48 of Bronx NY has eight prior arrests, including criminal possession of a weapon, assault, menacing with a weapon, drugs, burglary & assault on a police officer," the mother wrote on July 20. "He has been released back into civilization 8 times. New York has failed its people. How is your bail reform working????"

The New York Police Department told Fox News Digital that Garcia has nine prior arrests in New York. 

Most recently, the department told Fox Wednesday, Garcia was charged with theft of services and criminal possession of a weapon on June 10, when he was caught sneaking onto the subway at the corner of Havens Place and Atlantic Avenue using the emergency exit with a knife in his pants pocket. 


Mom embraces daughter

Cara Fatum embraces her daughter's partner, Lea Vazquez, after Julia Fatum was released from the hospital July 26. (Barry Williams for NY Daily News via Getty Images)

It is unclear whether he was awaiting trial for that offense when he allegedly stabbed Fatum. A 48-year-old man named Rudy Garcia is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 10 regarding a June 10 arrest by New York City Transit Police, according to court records.

The NYPD would not comment on whether that was the same Rudy Garcia who is charged in Fatum's attack.

Garcia has two previous felony convictions, according to the New York Post, including one for headbutting a police officer trying to arrest him for allegedly headbutting his sister in 2017. He was charged with criminal possession of a weapon for carrying a box cutter, and has previous menacing, drug possession and robbery charges on his record. 

After he was hospitalized, Garcia allegedly told police that he didn't need medical attention, arguing that the EMTs who picked him up were "fake" and "kidnapped" him; he is currently jailed on $500,000 cash bail.


Julia Fatum makes a rocker sign in a wheelchair

Julia Fatum required stitches to her chest and emergency surgery on her thigh. She will need further surgeries to repair nerve damage in her legs. (Barry Williams for NY Daily News via Getty Images)

Fatum initially picked up Garcia on a cardiac arrest call at West 94th Street and Amsterdam Avenue around 9 p.m. on July 19.

As they arrived at Mount Sinai West Hospital, Garcia allegedly pulled a knife from his boot and stabbed Fatum six times in the leg, arm and abdomen as she curled up in a defensive position, according to The Emergency Medical Services Public Advocacy Council.

Footage obtained by the New York Post shows the EMT collapsing out of the vehicle and onto the ground, crying in pain as a fellow EMT tends to her wounds as Garcia gets back into the vehicle.

Fatum’s partner, who was driving, was unable to get into the back of the ambulance to help – Fatum had the key needed to open the separating door on her person at the time of the attack.

EMTs applaud outside hospital

Fellow EMTs applaud Julia Taylor Fatum as she is discharged from Mt. Sinai West Wednesday, July, 26, 2023. (Barry Williams for NY Daily News via Getty Images)

Garcia was charged with three counts of assault, criminal possession of a weapon and obstruction of governmental administration, according to the NYPD.

At Garcia's arraignment on July 21, prosecutors said the EMT underwent surgery for her thigh wounds, required stitches on her chest and "suffered significant blood loss." She will need additional surgeries on her legs to repair nerve damage, according to reporting by the Post.

Regardless of her injuries and the apparent risks of her profession, Fatum's mother told ABC 7, her daughter intends to become a nurse. 

Ambulance parked with door open after EMT stabbed

An NYC EMS worker was stabbed by a man she was transporting to the hospital on July 19, 2023. (Peter Gerber)

"I don't think Julia is ever worried about anything, she's tough, takes on the world," she told the outlet. "If this makes a difference in the safety of her fellow EMTs... I know that she would do it all over again."

There have been 121 attacks on New York City EMTs this year, according to the Fire Department of New York. The EMS Advocacy Council told CBS News that these attacks happen daily, and that emergency services are urging police departments to respond more quickly when they need backup. 

Ambulance parked behind crime scene tape

Julia Fatum was stabbed in her arm and leg while working as an EMT in NYC. (Peter Gerber)

EMTs do not have specific training or equipment for treating mentally disturbed patients, responders told CBS. 

"There's these triangle bandages that... are soft. They're not handcuffs, they're not metal, and you can sorta tie someone to a stretcher or a chair or something," Yonkers Fire Lt. Christopher Higgins told the outlet.

"You're going into people's homes, into places of large gatherings, onto busy highways, and you never are really totally sure what you're going to find on the other side," he said.