• Action News Jax Investigates: Videos shows paramedics refusing service

    By: Russell Colburn , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department has an internal investigation underway after Action News Jax brought a video to JFRD showing a man begging to be taken to the hospital and paramedics refusing.

    Florida state law said you cannot be refused medical transport from an agency such as JFRD for an emergency medical condition.

    But as one can hear in the video, there was pushback from the first responders on-scene about whether it was an emergency at all.


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    Rafael De Armas posted the video on his public Facebook account.

    It shows him pleading with paramedics to take him to the hospital Sunday.

    “My blood sugar is 56,” De Armas said in the video. “The last time I almost fainted, it was 45. I got an infection. I'm leaking out my neck.”

    In the video, De Armas pleads with the JFRD crew.

    “Can I take the ambulance to the hospital right now?” De Armas asks.

    “Right now, you're mouthing off, no,” a JFRD crew member responds.

    One cites policy to De Armas.

    “What I'm telling you is you don't meet our protocol to do it,” a JFRD crew member said.

    De Armas contends that if he could get himself to the hospital on his own, he would not have called the ambulance.

    Eventually, the crew agrees to take him, but appears to undermine De Armas’ claims.

    “This is not a taxi service,” a JFRD crew member said. “There is nothing life-threatening going on with you.”

    “It is life-threatening,” De Armas responded.


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    The video ends with a stern command from a JFRD crew member.

    “Just get in the [expletive] truck,” he said.

    JFRD sent us this statement on the incident:

    "First and foremost, I want to extend our sincerest apologies to the patient who was impacted on the video. We have over 1,200 firefighters on this job and this is not indicative of our normal service given to the citizens of Jacksonville. We are grateful to have discovered this behavior in order to immediately implement action. We have launched our internal investigation and the results of that investigation will determine the next course of action."

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