A 57-year-old Blountstown woman died after she was forcibly removed from a local hospital in handcuffs. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the incident, and the state medical examiner has now ruled that the woman passed away from a blood clot in her lungs that was related to her obesity.
Barbara Dawson died early Monday morning at the Calhoun Liberty Hospital. According to the authorities, she was reportedly abusive to the staff after they had released the woman. She initially came to the local hospital at about 10:30 p.m on Sunday night complaining of chest pains. After she was declared healthy and discharged, Dawson insisted that she was still unwell, demanded further treatment, and refused to leave the hospital. The Blountstown Police Department were called and were in the process of arresting her when the woman suffered a medical emergency and died a short time later.
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Family members of Barbara Dawson are considering bringing a lawsuit against those they deem responsible for the untimely death of the Florida woman.The family said that Dawson was only pleading for medical care and the fact that she did not receive it is what caused her death. According to the Global Grind, Dawson’s aunt was with her at the time of the incident, and Angela Donar said the staff handled her niece with unnecessary roughness. Donar claimed that Barbara had originally been hooked up to an oxygen tank, and even though she kept insisting that she needed it, a hospital staff member came in with a pair of scissors and simply cut off the oxygen supply at about 4:45 a.m. The woman was also said to have begged the officers not to arrest her.
The police placed her under arrest for disorderly conduct and handcuffed the woman as they escorted her away from the hospital. Once they were outside, Dawson collapsed, and the officers removed the handcuffs. Hospital staff rushed her back inside, but in less than two hours, Dawson was declared dead.
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The CEO of the twenty-five-bed hospital insisted that the staff did everything they could for Barbara Dawson. The NAACP and the Tallahassee law firm, Parks and Crump, will be representing the family as they consider filing suit against either the hospital, the police department or both. Daryl Parks is the attorney working on the case, and he said that the police and the medical personnel did not take Barbara Dawson’s health into consideration when they sought to arrest her as she was known to have breathing problems.
“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… Something happened in course of them taking her to the car that alerted them that they needed to go back inside. So she never should have left the hospital anyway. She never left the hospital grounds, so the fact that you would take a sick person and put them in cuffs says something both about the hospital and the department in and of itself, those are things that they both need to address.”
The Tallahassee Democrat reported that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement became involved in the investigation of Dawson’s death after a meeting with 14th Judicial Circuit prosecutors and the Blountstown Police Department Chief Mark Mallory on Wednesday. The official cause of death as ruled by the Medical Examiner’s office was due to a pulmonary saddle embolus, or a blood clot in the lungs which was related to Dawson’s obesity.
The hospital advised that no security cameras recorded Dawson being arrested and neither did the dashboard cameras of the police officers. There are audio recordings of the arrest, though, and the police have advised that the recordings and a full police report will be released before Christmas.
[Photo Courtesy of Nils Versemann/ Shutterstock]