PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A former Pasco County paramedic investigated for failing to examine a woman or even check her vital signs even though she was writhing in pain hours before she died will not lose his department of health license.
Dawn Crowder, 61, died last March after a Pasco County Fire Rescue crew did not transport her to the hospital despite her request and apparent stroke symptoms.
Paramedic Nathan Register “failed to perform any evaluations or examinations,” according to an investigation by the Florida Department of Health (FDOH).
“[Register] fraudulently documented the encounter as a dry run,” the administrative complaint states.
Crowder was sleeping over the Ehren Cutoff home of Felipe and Ivy Graciano who called 911, telling the dispatcher, “She’s just screaming in pain, holding her head.”
Register was part of the crew that did not transport Crowder. Several hours later, the Graciano’s called 911 again.
“She’s not breathing,” Felipe Graciano told the dispatcher. “She’s not even breathing. I think she’s dead.”
Register has not responded to requests to answer questions about why Crowder was not transported.
The FDOH final order indicates Register replied to the allegations in a hearing “by objecting to the amount of the administrative fine.” There is no indication Register defended the decision not to transport Crowder.
“There are no material facts in dispute,” the order states.
Register’s paramedic license was suspended for 6 months, followed by 6 months of probation. He was fined $3,000 and ordered to pay just over $1,500 to cover FDOH costs.
Crowder’s younger sister Tracy Overstreet said her family is frustrated and angered by what they said was a lack of punishment.
“A $3,000 fine for somebody’s life? I think he should be put in jail,” Overstreet said. “This has caused so much pain. He should never be a paramedic again.”
According to Crowder’s daughter Cassa Smith, her mom loved playing with her grandchildren, spending time with her family and gardening.
Smith did not know about the lack of treatment until 8 On Your Side showed her the FDOH report that states, “Register attempted to cover up his conduct.”
“I will never forget the moment that I got the phone call that my mother, my best friend, had passed away,” Smith said in September. “I had talked to her the day prior, and everything was normal, just like when we talked every day.”
Smith said she will remember her mother as a “bright light” with a big smile, but months after she died, she was left with questions.
“We will always be left to wonder what could have happened if she would have been provided the proper medical attention that she deserved,” Smith said.
Pasco Fire Rescue spokesman Corey Dierdorff said last September that Register was terminated but he did not provide any other details.
The state’s so-called “free kill” medical malpractice law provides immunity from a civil lawsuit in this case since Crowder was not married at the time of her death and does not have any children under the age of 25.