An hour before his shift at the emergency room at Tampa Regional Medical Center, Dr. Brian Sturgess was waiting for his colleagues when a man with a history of diabetes walked into the office.
Sturgess said he could hear the man yelling at someone in the waiting room and ran to check on the man, who was lying in the intensive care unit.
Sturgestes was there to take care of the patient.
“I could feel his blood pressure and I could feel it go up,” Sturgesses said.
Stustys colleague had a heart attack and was unconscious when he arrived.
“We didn’t have the money to call for an ambulance and get someone to come, so we ended up having to call our own medics,” Stustys said.
“When you see something like that, you’re like, ‘Wow, I have to do something,'” Sturgests colleague, Draymond Green, said.
Green was in his own ambulance after the emergency medical response.
“If we hadn’t gotten there, I would have died,” he said.
“He was a nice guy.
We didn’t want to let him die.
He was a good guy.
It was like a family.
He would have wanted to come back to work.”
The Tampa Fire Department also responded, but Sturges and Green were able to get the patient in his car to the hospital in time.
“When I got in the ambulance, I didn’t think that I was going to make it,” Green said.
But they had a plan.
“I had to take him to a local hospital,” Sturnes said.
He said the doctor gave him a list of doctors to see and then sent Green and the other medicaid workers to Tampa Medical Center to see the patient and get him to the intensive-care unit.
“You see the emergency department, it’s very crowded,” Green told Fox News.
“You’re waiting for people to come and say that someone needs to be transported.”
Stustes and the others were able get the man to the ICU with a little help from the hospital.
Sturness and Green had already been to the emergency departments before.
But when Sturgens saw the man’s blood pressure rise, he was like, “We need to get an ambulance.”
Sturgesters and Green said the hospital had no medics to assist the patient until Sturgers and a medicaid worker were able.
“The first thing they told us was, ‘We don’t have enough ambulances to help you,'” Green said, referring to the medical staff.
“They said, ‘This is going to take us a couple of hours.'”
But when they arrived at the ICu, Sturgys medicaid colleague was already there.
“Then I realized, ‘That’s why I need to come with you,'” Stustes said, “because I don’t want him to die.”
The team of three doctors and two paramedics had a short, intense medical stay at the hospital before they were able, at some point, to transport the patient to a hospital in Tampa.
Strict regulations prohibit doctors from transporting patients to the facility in the first place, but Green said he felt lucky.
“That’s probably what I would do,” he told Fox.
“Because it’s a big hospital.”
The medicaid response was the first time Sturgs and Green experienced what they described as a medical emergency while on a job.
“At least we had a paramedic there, and we were able help out,” Green added.
Stuart Linn is a freelance reporter covering health care and health policy in the Tampa Bay area.
Follow him on Twitter: @StuartLinn