1st EMT to contract AIDS remembered 25 years later

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Friday, September 23, 2022 5:32PM
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Tracy Allen Lee was remembered for her work during the AIDS crisis. She contracted the virus while treating a patient and later died.

LOWER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- An EMT from New York City is being remembered 25 years after her death in the line of duty.

Every year, EMT's gather at EMS Station 10 on the Upper East Side to honor Tracy Allen Lee.

She was the first EMT in the city, and in the country, to contract the HIV virus while treating a patient.

She was treating a bleeding patient in 1989, when she cut herself and contaminated her blood.

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Her death in September of 1997 led to a state law that required EMTs and paramedics to automatically receive a line-of-duty injury designation for HIV.

"Tracy Allen Lee was a brave and tenacious EMT who was dedicated to serving our city," Acting Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said. "She fought to save her patients on every call, and she fought for the benefits she deserved. Because of her, all EMTs and paramedics are better protected today. That courage and the results of her fight are her enduring legacy."

EMTs who go above and beyond and risk their lives in the line of duty are awarded with a medal called the Tracey Allen Lee Medal of Honor.

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