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Hillsborough Co. medics accused of mishandling patient to share their side of the story

Posted: 2:05 PM, Jul 31, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-31 19:18:13Z

TAMPA, Fla. — The disciplinary hearings began on Tuesday for the four fire medics accused of not taking care of a patient properly on July 4.

30-year-old Crystle Galloway died at Tampa General Hospital days after her mother, Nicole Black, drove her there. Black claims the fire medics told her she couldn’t afford the ambulance ride, which is why she eventually took Galloway in her own car. But the fire medics claim Black was insisting she wanted to drive her daughter to the hospital.

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Galloway had a c-section days before when she gave birth to her son Jacob Aden. 

The Hillsborough County Administrator admits the four fire medics that showed up to take care of her didn’t do their job correctly.

"They didn’t take any vitals, they didn’t take any blood pressure, they didn’t check her temperature,” said Black. 

The County Administrator said that it is standard protocol and common sense — that's why all four were suspended.

On Tuesday, July 31, each of them was given the opportunity to give a statement during the pre-disciplinary hearing. 

Lt. John “Mike" Morris was first, followed by Fire-Medic Justin Sweeney, Fire-Medic Andrew Martin, and the acting Lt. Cortney Barton. 

Nicole Black told ABC Action News she didn't plan on going to the hearing, "God is taking care of it," she said.

Last week, Black sat with her lawyer and gave an account of what happened. She said on July 4, Galloway’s 7-year-old daughter called to say something was wrong with her mom. Black lives down the hall in the same condominium complex so she ran to the other condo and saw her daughter slumped over the tub. Immediately, she called 911 and described what she saw happening. 

Nicole Black to dispatch: "I found her in the bathroom, lips swollen drooling from the mouth.”

After deputies arrived, Black said they told her she couldn’t afford an ambulance ride.  

"They never asked us if we had insurance, which we do,” Black said.

After fire medics got Galloway down the stairs, the County administrator said the group made their second mistake. They let Black drive Galloway to the hospital without signing a consent form. Black claims that the fire medics' came up with that idea.

"The whole conversation as the EMS drivers put my child in my car was this was what was best for us because we couldn’t afford an ambulance,” she said. “My daughter begged for her life, she begged!”

Galloway fell into a coma for days before she passed away at Tampa General Hospital. 

"She’s 30 years old just graduated from college she had her whole life ahead of her,” Black said about her daughter. "You can tell me you’re sorry, you can give me your condolences but you still have to work this out with God."

Black would like to see all four fire medics fired because she said she feels as though she was stereotyped.

The Hillsborough County Fire Fighters and their legal counsel, Attorney Paul Donnelly, is expected to make a comment once all four hearings have wrapped up Tuesday afternoon.