New Mom Dies After Paramedics Assume She Can't Afford the Ambulance Ride

Mom who died after ambulance said she couldn't afford the ambulance
Facebook/Nicole Benhamou

A Florida family is reeling from a shocking loss after a 30-year-old mom of three died days after having a C-section. On July 4, Nicole Black found her daughter, Crystle Galloway, unconscious and called for help. Nicole says, however, that she ended up having to transport her daughter, who was “drooling from the mouth,” because once medics arrived they assumed she couldn't afford to pay for the ambulance. Nicole told reporters, "My daughter begged for her life, she begged." 

  • Crystle started experiencing symptoms of stroke six days after giving birth to her baby boy. 

    According to WFTS, Crystle hadn't been feeling well since welcoming her son, Jacob Aden, on June 27. Crystle, who has two older daughters, ages 7 and 13, ended up suffering a stroke days later and her 7-year-old had called her grandmother, Nicole, to come quick to their apartment. 

    Nicole lives down the hall in the same condominium complex where Crystle lived with her children. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Crystle was unresponsive at first but when she regained consciousness for a moment, she said, "Mommy, my head." 

    A recording of Nicole's 911 call to paramedics has been released and shows the dire situation she reported her daughter to be in. 

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

    Dispatch: "Is she conscious?"

    Nicole: "Kind of, yeah. Kind of responsive."

    Dispatch: "Ok. Is she breathing?"

    Nicole: "Yes, she's breathing."

    Dispatch: "Is she completely alert?"

    Nicole: "Kind of. Yeah, kind of. Something's wrong."

    Paramedics arrived on the scene at 3 a.m., but according to Nicole, it was the incompetent actions of the first responders who eventually cost her daughter her life.

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  • Instead of trying to save her daughter's life, Nicole claims the first responders told her she couldn't afford it.

    Four fire medics had arrived at Crystle's apartment to tend to the seriously ill mom. But in a case of gobsmacking incompetence, the four medics tried to convince Benhamou that she and her daughter could not afford to take an ambulance ride to the hospital. 

    "They never asked us if we had insurance, which we do," Nicole told WFTS. And according to The Daily Mail, one medic even insinuated that Crystle had been intoxicated and that all she needed was to sleep it off. 

    Nicole claims that the medics failed to take Crystle's vitals and spent 10 minutes trying to explain the cost of transportation to Crystle and her mother, telling her that the ride, which was blocks away, would reportedly cost about $600. "They didn’t take any vitals, they didn’t take any blood pressure, they didn’t check her temperature," Nicole said.

    After she felt like they were wasting time that could potentially save her daughter's life, Nicole decided to drive Crystle herself. "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,” Nicole told ABC Action News. “My daughter begged for her life, she begged!”

  • Terrified for her daugher's life, Nicole rushed her dying daughter to the hospital in her own car.

    The medics did help Nicole get her daughter down the three flights of stairs to her car, but WTFS reports that they never had either woman sign a consent form stating that they were declining medical attention. 

    After Crystle arrived at Brandon Regional Hospital, a CT scan showed that she had been bleeding from the brain. She was then airlifted to Tampa General Hospital in Tampa, Florida, where she fell into a coma and died five days later.

    Her heartbroken mother told reporters that her daughter died so quickly that, "she passed away before her baby's umbilical cord dropped off."

  • County officials launched an investigation, finding that the records from that night had been falsified and there was a "gross neglect of duty." 

    Three days after Crystle's death, investigators found that the four medics had logged the call as "non-transport/patient not found" and failed to log vitals, even though the initial dispatch call had been logged as a possible stroke case. 

    The medics, however, are now claiming that Nicole insisted on taking her daughter to the hospital in her own vehicle.

    Fire Rescue Medical Director Michael LozanoI spoke out about the medics who work under his jurisdiction in a press statement read on Monday. "I cannot trust these individuals to work under my medical license," he said. "I feel they do not meet the minimum standards set by myself and the department."

    All four men have been suspended until a further disciplinary hearing July 31. And Nicole has launched a GoFundMe account to cover the cost of a hiring a lawyer to defend her daughter's case.

  • Nicole is now raising her three grandchildren but said that stereotyping is what led to her daughter's death.

    The 53-year-old wants to see the medics fired because of what she sees as their gross incompetence, which led to the death of her daughter. And she spoke with regret to WFTS about the bright future her daughter had. 

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

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