Hillsborough County

Hillsborough suspends 4 fire medics for botched call that lead to woman's death

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - Four Hillsborough County Fire Rescue medics are now on leave after the way they handled a call on July 4.

Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill says the fire medics didn't perform the most basic functions they are assigned to do on the call.

"Our fire medics did not do their job," said Merrill.

According to county documents, on July 4, just after 3 a.m., a woman called to say her 30-year-old daughter had passed out in the bathroom, had a swollen lip and was drooling on herself.

Family members told the medics that the 30-year-old woman had just given birth a few days prior by c-section and according to family members "hadn't been right" since she gave birth.

Dispatch told the medics before they arrived it appeared the patient "had a stroke or transient ischemic attack."

When the four medics arrived, they found two Hillsborough County Sheriff's Deputies in the home.

"There was some confusion about transport," said Merrill.

The medics never even took the patients vital signs.

"In the end, the fire medics did take the daughter down the stairs and put her into her mother's car, into her mothers vehicle," said Merrill.

The mother drove her daughter to Brandon Regional Medical Center.

When she arrived, it was clear she was having extreme medical issues and she was transported to Tampa General Hospital, where she died.

"If the fire medics had taken the vitals, had done the assessment, they would have concluded, as our medical director has, that this woman needed to be transported by EMS to the hospital," said Merrill.

The four medics, Lt. John "Mike" Morris, 36, Fire Medic Justin Sweeney, 36, Fire Medic Andrew J. Martin, 28, and Acting Lt. Courtney Barton, 38, are now on administrative leave and face a disciplinary hearing.


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