On the morning of July 4, just days after Crystle Galloway gave birth via C-section, her mother found the 30-year-old Florida woman slumped over her bathtub, lips swollen and drooling. Nicole Black called 911, but when four paramedics arrived, she says they assumed Galloway—who is black—couldn't afford the ambulance ride to the hospital, so they instead packed her into Black's car and Black drove her there, where she slipped into a coma and died five days later. "They never took blood pressure. They never took her temperature. They never checked any of her vitals," Black tells CBS News. "There was reference to, 'Didn't you just have a newborn baby? Do you really want to spend $600 to go three blocks? Oh, have you been drinking? Were you guys celebrating Fourth of July? Is that why your head hurts?'" She says they also never asked if Galloway had insurance, which she did.
Hillsborough County says the responders failed to get the signature that is required when a patient refuses ambulance services, falsified their patient care report, and, per CNN, failed to do a medical exam. "If the fire medics had taken the vitals … they would have concluded, as our medical director has, that this woman needed to be transported by EMS to the hospital," said Hillsborough County administrator Mike Merrill. "My guys did a lot of things wrong here and we take responsibility." They are on paid leave as an investigation continues, though their union leader says the charges against them are "crazy," the Tampa Bay Times reports; he calls Black's account an "absolute lie." Black, who rushed to Galloway's apartment after the woman's 7-year-old daughter called Black to tell her something was wrong, wants the medics fired. "She passed away before her baby's umbilical chord dropped off," she tells ABC Action News. "She’s 30 years old and just graduated from college, she had her whole life ahead of her." (Read more Florida stories.)