TAMPA, Fla. — Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill has called for further investigation into four Hillsborough County Fire Rescue employees who were suspended after a botched call resulted in a woman's death on the 4th of July.


On Tuesday, Lt. John 'Mike' Morris, Fire Medic Justin Sweeney, Fire Medic Andrew Martin, and acting Lt. Cortney Barton attended pre-disciplinary hearings where they told their side of the story in person for the first time.

On July 4th, Nicole Black called 911 after finding her daughter, 30-year-old Crystal Galloway, passed out in the bathroom. Black said she ended up driving her daughter to the hospital herself after she was allegedly told by paramedics that she "could not afford the ambulance."

"I went and got my car and took my daughter to the hospital .. it was too late, if she would've been in the ambulance she would’ve had a fighting chance but she’s gone and we'll never know because you didn’t do your job," Black said.

Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill said the employees violated a number of procedures, including not checking the patient's vitals, not getting her to sign a formal refusal, failing to document the true nature of the call, and failing to properly assess the patient when they arrived on scene.

Merrill said all four admitted to the violations, even though union President Derrik Ryan said they would never deny care.

"The folks behind me and my four fire medics , we come to work to save lives — the accusations against my four members are crazy," Ryan said.

County Administrator Mike Merrill said the union should be working with instead of against the county to determine why this happened.

"They ought to be just as concerned as I am about making sure there's consistent service and that everyone who needs medical treatment gets it," Merrill said.

Merrill said the additional review will allow them to determine the underlying reasons for the fire medics' judgments and decisions. The next steps will be scheduling interviews which they hope to complete in the next couple of weeks.