Texas Family Loses Suit, But Pickets Station


There was a protest outside San Antonio Fire Department headquarters downtown on Tuesday afternoon.

Some of those in the small group were family members of a woman who died after being cared for by EMS who say the city is not accepting responsibility.

They say Patricia Mathews' death on Nov. 1, 2007, was at least partly the city's fault. They said mistakes were made and they want to warn others.

Mathews left behind a disabled daughter and a mother, Alejandrina Garcia, who continues to grieve. "They neglected her care," said Garcia.

Her father, Mario Girela, was at the Parque de Oro Apartments when Mathews began having trouble breathing. She had COPD and was on oxygen.

Girela said the EMS crew did not use a gurney and that he helped a paramedic drag her out of the apartment.

"She couldn't walk," Girela said. "And we were dragging her out with no oxygen."

He said then they shoved her in the side door of the ambulance.

"Face-first to the floor of the ambulance, we pushed her in," Girela said. "By this time, my daughter was dead."

He said he still has questions four years later.

"Why put her in the side door like a piece of meat, just face first, face down, push her in," Girela said.

At this point, the family does not want money from the city, they want answers and an apology. They want an admission that four years ago their EMS employees did something wrong.

"To be honest with you, that's why I'm still here, because there's times I want to go be with my kids," Garcia said, noting that she has lost another daughter and a son as well.

The city issued a statement saying the family "has the sympathy of the entire San Antonio Fire Department, but that 'the paramedics involved made extensive efforts to treat her."

The statement went on to read the state "investigated the incident and determined care was appropriate."

They say it was a difficult situation and a tragedy but they did the best they could for Mathews.

The family sued the city earlier and lost and their appeal was denied. The city extended its condolences.

To read the entire statement issued by the San Antonio Fire Department, click



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