—Tracy Lee was 17 months into her EMT position when she contracted HIV in the line of duty.
NEW YORK — The first Fire Department of New York (FDNY) Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) to contract HIV while treating a patient in New York City was honored 20 years after her death.
According to FOX News, Tracy Lee was 17 months into her EMT position when she contracted HIV from a patient who was bleeding to death. The station reported that a memorial stone marker was placed outside an East Harlem EMS station for EMT Lee.
Lee’s glove was ripped when she was pulling a man into a hallway for treatment, and her blood mixed with his. She tested positive for HIV in May 1994.
“I was 31 when she died,” Lee’s widower, Victor Lee, said. “When you’re that age, you think you’re invincible. We were going to grow old together and have kids.”
Lee’s request to have her diagnosis listed as a line-of-duty illness was denied, but Lee continued to work in the offices of the FDNY until she died in Sept. 1997. The next year, New York passed a law requiring HIV contracted on the job to automatically be designated as a line-of-duty injury for responders.
“I still think about her every day,” retired EMS Lt. and Lee’s co-worker Adelaide Connaughton said. “I can’t believe it’s been 20 years. It seems like yesterday.”
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