Fla. firefighter union responds to medics' suspension after medical call
A Hillsborough County Administrator said the paramedics violated three areas of standard procedure
This story has been edited to include a statement from Hillsborough County Fire Fighters IAFF Local 2294 regarding the incident.
By EMS1 Staff
TAMPA, Fla. — Four paramedics were suspended after violating three areas of standard procedure during a 911 call for a woman who was showing symptoms of a stroke.
Tampa Bay Times reported that the Hillsborough County Fire Rescue paramedics responded to a call on July 4 about Crystle Galloway, who had recently given birth via cesarean section and was exhibiting signs of a stroke.
The paramedics helped carry the woman from her third-floor residence to her mother’s car, later telling officials that Sheriff’s deputies on the scene had told them Galloway’s mother, Nicole Benhamou, wanted to drive her daughter to the hospital herself.
Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill said the paramedics failed to provide care to the woman and violated three areas of standard care:
- They failed to properly assess the patient, taking no vitals
- They allowed the patient to leave without executing an informed refusal for transport
- The fire medics failed to properly document the true nature of the call
“Our fire medics did not do their job,” Merrill said.
Galloway’s mother drove her to the hospital. From there she was airlifted to another hospital, where she later died.
The paramedics were placed on administrative leave with pay last week and a disciplinary hearing is tentatively scheduled for July 31.
"I cannot trust these individuals to work under my medical license," said Michael Lozano, Fire Rescue medical director, in a statement. "I feel they do not meet the minimum standards set by myself and the department."
Hillsborough County Fire Fighters IAFF Local 2294 responded to the incident with a statement, clarifying a few details.
"Upon arrival of HCFR units to the scene, deputies stated to the HCFR employees the calling party only desired to have assistance with helping Ms. Calloway down three flights of stairs," the statement said. "Despite this communication, HCFR employees still approached the incident as any other and entered into the residence with medical equipment."
The union also said that "the notion of these HCFR employees refusing to transport Ms. Calloway to a hospital has absolutely no merit," because the ambulance that responded to the call is "quartered at a hospital" and was "returning to a hospital independent of the situation."
The statement added that the incident is being reviewed by union officials and that they are "also considering additional statements from the employees and other information that clearly was not considered by Hillsborough County Human Resources prior to making the decision to suspend the employees and levy charges against them."
Read the full statement below.