A mom in Florida has stated that an ambulance refused to take her adult daughter to the hospital because fire rescue personnel thought the family could not afford the trip. Fire rescue personnel in Hillsborough County have been placed on immediate administrative leave, with pay, as a result, currently facing disciplinary hearings.
CNN reported that the incident occurred on July 4th, in the early morning, when Nicole Black reached out to 911 after she realized her 30-year-old daughter, Crystle Galloway, wasn’t doing well. On the recorded 911 call, the first thing that Black stated was that she needed an ambulance; however, Galloway ended up getting to the facility via another route.
Upon sending fire rescue, Black was asked more about what occurred, from the dispatcher. The mom stated her daughter had recently had a baby via cesarean section and wasn’t well. Black informed the dispatcher that her young granddaughter called stating that ‘something was wrong with mommy’; as Black lived only doors down, she ran to her daughter’s side. The mom and grandmother found her daughter slumped over the bathroom with drool coming from her mouth and her lips swollen. Black stated that Galloway had passed out and was only ‘kind of’ alert.
As per documents, the incident was coded by dispatch as a ‘Stroke (CVA)/Transient Ischemic Attack’. Units from fire rescue were at the scene 12 minutes after dispatch, as per county records. County documents reveal that the crew asked Galloway about going to the hospital, and she responded in agreement. While Galloway was placed on a stair chair, which carried to the main floor, passing through three flights of stairs, and then the crew took her to Black’s car, where her mom rushed her to the hospital. Fire rescue personnel headed back to service right away.
Black stated that the entire conversation with EMS drivers placing Galloway in her car centered around the fact that this was best for them as they couldn’t afford an ambulance. Black’s attorney stated that no medical evaluation was done and that her blood pressure nor temperature was taken. They looked at Galloway and simply stated that it would cost $600 to take the woman to the hospital. Black’s attorney added that the family did have insurance.
In a press conference that took place July 23rd, Mike Merril, Hillsborough County Administrator, stated that that the ambulance crew did not conduct a medical evaluation or take Galloway’s vitals, which was revealed as per an internal investigation.
Once Galloway was in the vehicle, her mom rushed her to an urgent care center close by and the team conducted a CT scan. The decision was made to send the new mom, via helicopter, to Tampa General Hospital. Galloway fell into a coma while at the medical facility. Sadly, five days later she passed away on July 9th.
Unfortunately, in most cases like these ones, there seems to be two sides to the story. During that July 23rd press conference, Merrill went on to state that three huge department procedures will violated in the fact that the crew did not get vitals on scene or ensure to get any signed paperwork marking Black’s refusal for an ambulance. The crew stated that while Galloway had nodded in acceptance to be taken to a hospital, there was also discussion that Black would take her. The crew indicated vitals and an evaluation weren’t done in the home because the space was dark and small, once they got the woman downstairs, she was placed in the car and Black took off immediately before any information could be taken.
The last violation, according to Merrill, was falsification of paperwork around the call. The crew filed the paperwork stating that the patient was not found, according to a crew member, because no patient information was available, and the situation ended up being a lift assist only. It was stated that the mom only needed help to get her daughter downstairs and that she had said she would take her to a hospital. As the workers had no family information details, and the system is limited with codes, this was the one chosen.
The family lawyer has stated that he’s collecting medical records and doesn’t have a death certificate, so it’s to early to state whether or not a lawsuit will be launched. He did state that if the delay caused Galloway’s death, then appropriate action will be taken.