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Black Mother Dies Because Paramedics Assumed She Couldn't Pay for Ambulance Ride, Says Family

Crystle Galloway’s mother was forced to rush her to the hospital instead of being taken in an ambulance. But Galloway suffered from a stroke and died just days after giving birth to a baby boy. And now, four Florida paramedics involved are being investigated for mishandling the situation and are suspended with pay.

Galloway’s 7-year-old daughter called her grandmother, Nicole Black, on July 4 to inform her that something was wrong with the new mother, according to The Tampa Bay Times. They lived a few doors down from one another in the same complex. Black raced to her daughter’s condo where she found her unconscious in the bathtub. She immediately called 911. Galloway regained consciousness, but was still weak and incapacitated.

Black said paramedics showed up to Galloway’s house, and before they even attempted to assess her condition or ask about insurance coverage, told Black that she could not afford an ambulance ride to the hospital.

Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill said in a press conference on Monday, that in the investigation, no evidence was found suggesting ambulance cost was brought up in the conversation.

“There were discussions between the mother and the deputies concerning cost, primarily driven by questions from the mother, which may have led to her conclusion or statements that she wanted to transport her daughter,” Merrill said. “My guys did a lot of things wrong here, and we take responsibility. From the record I have, that’s not one of the things they did wrong.”

He disputes Black’s claim, but at the same time Merrill said the “fire rescue personnel did not perform their duties.”

“Based on the facts and statements obtained during the review of this incident by Human Resources, the information indicates that the four Fire Rescue personnel did not perform their duties,” he said, in a statement released on Monday.

“The review indicates several Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Standard Operating Procedures were violated during this incident.”

For example, after fire medics got Galloway down the stairs, Merrill said the group made a mistake — they let Black drive Galloway to the hospital without signing a consent form. Those precious moments and a horrible assumption ultimately cost Galloway her life.

It appears the paramedics also lied on the paperwork. They checked the patient hadn’t been found when clearly, she had.

The employment status of the medics will be determined in a disciplinary hearing on July 31, Merrill added.

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