A young Florida mother has died just days after being denied an ambulance ride because medics didn’t think she could afford it.
Crystle Galloway, 30, of Tampa had recently given birth to her baby boy, Jacob, before her untimely death, Blavity reports. On July 4, Galloway had an unexpected medical emergency. Her mother, Nicole Black, found her sick and drooling over a tub after Galloway’s 7-year-old daughter called her for help.
Black called 911, but paramedics weren’t dispatched to the residence. During the call, it was suspected that Galloway had suffered a stroke. Fire rescue responders arrived on the scene but did not administer proper medical care for Galloway.
"They never asked us if we had insurance, which we do,” Black told reporters.
The responders allegedly insisted that the family would not be able to afford an ambulance ride, which would have cost $600, and they advised Black to take her daughter to the hospital herself by car.
"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 said. “My daughter begged for her life, she begged."
By July 9, just five days after the ambulance fiasco, Galloway died at Tampa General Hospital after doctors found bleeding on her brain.
"She passed away before her baby's umbilical cord dropped off,” Black said, emphasizing just how soon after giving birth Galloway lost her life.
"She’s 30 years old and just graduated from college, she had her whole life ahead of her,” Black said. "You can tell me you’re sorry, you can give me your condolences, but you still have to work this out with God."
Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill admitted that the medics did not provide proper care to Galloway when they responded to the call.
"They didn’t take any vitals, they didn’t take any blood pressure, they didn’t check her temperature,” Black said.
As a result of their negligence, the responders have been suspended.
"I cannot trust these individuals to work under my medical license," Fire Rescue medical director Michael Lozano reportedly said in a statement. "I feel they do not meet the minimum standards set by myself and the department."
The four employees who were suspended are 36-year-old Lt. John "Mike" Morris, who has worked with the department for six years; Fire Medic Justin Sweeney, who is also 36, and a five-year department employee; Fire Medic Andrew J. Martin, 28, a five-year department employee; and acting Lt. Cortney Barton, 38, a nine-year department employee.
However, this decision is a far cry from real justice, and Black said she plans to also take legal action in the name of her daughter.
It doesn't take a genius to surmise that the medics' assumption about the family's finances was based on pre-conceived notions about Black and Galloway likely attached to their race and gender. Sadly, their carelessness and apparent racial bias cost an innocent mother her life.
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