A woman who was forcibly removed from a hospital after being denied treatment died just a few hours later. Barbara Dawson, 57, collapsed as she was removed from the Liberty Calhoun Hospital in Florida in handcuffs on Monday.
Barbara Dawson had gone to the Tallahassee area hospital, seeking help for breathing difficulties she was experiencing. The woman removed from the hospital was arrested and charged with both trespassing and disorderly conduct, according to Blountstown Police Department Chief Mark Mallory. Daryl Parks, the attorney representing the Dawson family, said that doctors said Barbara was in stable condition and could be released, but the woman said she was still experiencing breathing problems and wanted to remain at the hospital.
Woman dies after being forcibly removed from hospital https://t.co/88zMa5LrdW
— WEWS NewsChannel5 (@WEWS) December 23, 2015
Investigators from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement have been called in to investigate Dawson’s death. The autopsy report from the hospital removal death is expected to be released on Wednesday. The handcuffs place on the wrists of the woman begging for treatment were released by the arresting officer after she collapse, according to MSN. She was immediately taken back inside the Liberty Calhoun Hospital after the health incident. Barbara was transported to the hospital via an ambulance around 10:30 p.m. on Sunday evening after complaining of stomach pain. She was dismissed from care during the very early morning hours on Monday.
“We were told by a doctor once she got back in the hospital that her vital signs were good and it was their decision to readmit her,” Chief Mallory said. “She was causing a disturbance in the hospital with her language and the volume of her voice.”
Video footage from the Blountstown police officer’s dashcam did not reportedly capture images from Dawson’s arrest and collapse, but did record audio from the incident. During an interview with the Tallahassee Democrat, Liberty Calhoun Hospital CEO Ruth Attaway, said that hospital staff did all they could to save the life of Barbara Dawson.
Family remembers Barbara Dawson who died while being removed from a local hospital https://t.co/jDzjWTUNg0
— Tallahassee Democrat (@TDOnline) December 23, 2015
“The most reasonable thing to do is to let her sit there and be able to settle down until she felt well. Instead, she is forcibly removed and put in cuffs,” Daryl Parks told the media. “The early facts of this case should cause a great concern for everyone.”
Dawson’s relatives maintain that Barbara pleaded with Liberty Calhoun Hospital staff to return “her oxygen tank” because she was still having difficulty breathing. According to statements made by her family, which could likely be cited in a civil lawsuit filed against the medical care facility, after she was handcuffed and escorted outside, Dawson once again “begged for oxygen.”
Hospital staff reportedly checked Dawson’s vital signs three times after she collapsed near the open door of the police cruisers, and said she was fine. After a doctor decided to readmit her, she was moved back into the hospital on a gurney. She died about two hours later, around 6:45 a.m.
The death of Barbara Dawson after she was forcibly removed from the hospital may be taking on a racial aspect. The Calhoun-Liberty County chapter of the NAACP held an “emergency meeting” on Tuesday to discuss the hospital removal which resulted in an arrest, and ultimately the death, of the patient.
The regional vice president for the local NAACP chapter, Dale R. Landry, has now reportedly met with both Dawson’s relatives and area leaders to review the matter. Landry said that while he and a host of others associated with the case are happy that the state police has become involved in the investigation, he still feels “strongly” that the death was caused by “negligence” on behalf of both the hospital and the Blountstown Police Department.
Barbara Dawson reportedly had a long history of breathing problems and had been treated at Tallahassee area hospitals 22 times since 1987. Past clashes with Liberty Calhoun Hospital staff over questions posed by Dawson about her treatment have been alleged by relatives.
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