Woman Suing in Fatal FL Medic Neglect

The daughter of a woman who died after paramedics failed to transport her to a hospital or take her vitals intends to sue Hillsborough County.

Hillsborough County, FL, Fire Rescue

Oct. 27 — TAMPA, FL — The daughter of a 30-year-old woman who died after paramedics failed to transport her to a hospital or even take her vital signs has filed notice of her intent to sue Hillsborough County.

And other lawsuits may be coming.

The notice was sent to Hillsborough County commissioners and the county’s fire department by the Kimsey Law Firm. It states that the girl lost her mother, Crystle Galloway, as a result of negligence by Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.

"The paramedics failed to follow protocol, and as a result, Ms. Galloway ultimately died," it states.

In September, County Administrator Mike Merrill fired one paramedic and suspended three following a lengthy investigation into the 911 call that brought paramedics to Galloway’s Temple Terrace apartment.

"The county’s own internal investigation revealed wrongdoing, and based on some of the articles I’ve read, it seems that will weigh pretty heavily on what kind of response we get from the county or whoever defends the lawsuit," said Paul Przepis, a partner with the law firm.

The girl named in the notice is a minor. Kimsey was hired by the girl’s father, Andre Brown, to represent her.

Galloway’s mother, Nicole Black, has hired Tampa personal injury and medical malpractice attorney Chris Jayson. He did not return calls seeking comment.

State law requires government agencies to get six months notice before being sued. That period is often used to arrange settlements.

Przepis said it’s common for attorneys representing different clients to collaborate to prove liability. They would then work individually to win an award for their client.

"The hope is that this case may be resolved at a settlement conference," Przepis said.

Hillsborough County officials said they can’t comment on pending litigation.

Galloway’s mother called 911 for help on July 4 when her daughter became unresponsive at about 3 a.m.

The 911 call had been coded as a possible stroke case, and paramedics were informed on their arrival that Galloway had given birth by Cesarean section six days earlier.

But they only helped Galloway into her mother’s car so she could be driven to a Temple Terrace emergency room operated by Brandon Regional Hospital, a facility unequipped to treat stroke patients.

After a CT scan showed bleeding in Galloway’s brain, staff called for a helicopter to fly Galloway across town to Tampa General Hospital, where she slipped into a coma. She died five days later.

Paramedics told investigators that Galloway’s mother had already told sheriff’s deputies that she wanted to take her daughter to the hospital. They assisted by carrying Galloway down from a third-floor apartment.

County rules state that paramedics should take vital signs even on calls where they do not transport a patient.

In the wake of the county’s disciplinary action against the paramedics, the International Association of Firefighters Local 2294 said Merrill had made the county legally liable.

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Credit: Hillsborough County, FL, Fire Rescue

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