A grieving mother is demanding action after her daughter died, a tragedy she believes could’ve been avoided had medics not assumed she couldn’t afford the ambulance ride to the hospital.
Nicole Black rushed to her daughter, Crystle Galloway’s apartment in the wee hours of July 4, finding her slumped over the bathtub and unresponsive, the Tampa Bay Times reported. Galloway’s 7-year-old daughter had called to say something was wrong with her mom, who had a C-section just six days before.
When Hillsborough County medics finally arrived, Black claims they questioned if they could afford the $600 charge for a three-block ambulance ride to the local hospital. She said they even suggested Galloway had been drinking before her emergency, which was reported as a possible stroke case. Black said the exchange left her feeling stereotyped.
“They never asked us if we had insurance, which we do,” she told ABC Action News.
Black said she and her daughter, who was going in and out of consciousness, repeatedly begged medics to rush her to the hospital, but they again questioned if they could afford the ambulance ride. That’s when Black said she was told it’d be better to drive Galloway there herself.
“The whole conversation as the EMS drivers put my child in my car was that was best for us because we couldn’t afford an ambulance,” she recalled. “My daughter begged for her life, she begged!”
The paramedics disputed this, however, claiming it was Black’s choice to transport her daughter to the hospital.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Black took her daughter to Brandon Regional Hospital where a CT scan revealed bleeding on Galloway’s brain. The mother of three was quickly flown to Tampa General Hospital but slipped into a coma. She passed away three days shy of her 31st birthday, leaving behind three kids.
“She passed away before her baby’s umbilical cord dropped off,” Galloway said of her daughter. ” She’s 30 years old and just graduated from college. She had her whole life ahead of her.”
The four medics involved have been suspended with pay pending a disciplinary hearing, the newspaper reported. Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill pointed out several errors on the medics’ part, acknowledging they did not do their jobs correctly when they responded to Galloway’s home.
For one, they failed to take check the young woman’s vitals, including her blood pressure and body temperature. Their second mistake came when they allowed and/or encouraged Black to drive her daughter to the hospital without first signing a consent form, ABC Action News reported. Lastly, the medics logged the 911 call using a code signifying “Non-transport/no patient found,” — an error described by county officials as falsification of records.
Black said she hopes to see the four medics lose their jobs.
“You can tell me you’re sorry, you can give me your condolences but you still have to work this out with God,” she said.
The initial disciplinary hearing was held Tuesday. It’s unclear if the medics have been fired.
A GoFundMe campaign has since been launched for the family.