Profiling can be deadly, and that’s not a figure of speech. As the United States continues to grapple with the issue of racism in the Trump era, one woman in Florida faced an actual life and death situation that she feels ended as sorrowfully as it did because of profiling.
Early in the morning of July 4, Nicole Benhamou’s grandchild called her because her daughter, identified by the Tampa Bay Times as Crystle Galloway, was “in the bathroom, lips swollen, [and] drooling from the mouth” as she described the situation in a 911 call. When Hillsborough County, Florida, medics arrived on the scene, as dire of a situation as that was, they did not transport Galloway to a hospital in an ambulance. Instead, wasting time during a situation that ended up claiming Galloway’s life, the four medics on the scene transported Galloway down some stairs — and had Benhamou drive her to the hospital.
Their reasoning? According to Benhamou, the medical personnel assumed that they could not afford an ambulance ride.
‘They never asked us if we had insurance, which we do… 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. My daughter begged for her life, she begged!’
Not only did the paramedics refuse to transport Galloway via ambulance, but they never even checked her vital signs. The four medical personnel who failed Galloway and Benhamou have been suspended and face a disciplinary hearing next week meant to decide whether they should be fired.
Galloway had suffered a stroke just days after giving birth via C-section and, after falling into a coma for several days, died following their failure.
Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill commented:
‘I deeply regret that this has happened and clearly this is unacceptable.’
Fire Rescue medical director Michael Lozano added:
‘I cannot trust these individuals to work under my medical license. I feel they do not meet the minimum standards set by myself and the department.’
Besides their failure to do their job and help a sick individual get care, the medics — all of whom have worked for the department for at least five years — falsified records, claiming the subject of the original 911 call to have been unable to be found.
The entire situation touches on a number of issues plaguing the United States. On the one hand, as already noted, Benhamou feels she was stereotyped, a local ABC affiliate reports. Her family is black.
On the other hand, the struggle to get affordable health care to those who need it has intensified under Donald Trump’s presidency. Whereas progress was slowly being made towards affordable care in the past thanks to measures like Obamacare, when Trump took office, he and Republicans set to dismantling the national health care system. Although they failed, they sought to completely repeal the Affordable Care Act, and in the time since, they’ve taken to attacking the system through other means while pro-health care interests continue to speak out.
In the United Kingdom, ambulance rides are generally absolutely free — so it’s doable, many Republicans just prefer their money centered worldview over the actual protection of human lives.
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