A Blountstown, Florida, woman died after police allegedly forced her out of the Calhoun Liberty Hospital when she refused to leave.
CNN reports that on December 21, Dawson checked herself into the hospital after sensing something just wasn’t quite right. Conflicting reports say that the Florida woman was either complaining of stomach or breathing difficulties.
The hospital’s medical staff determined that her health was stable and subsequently released her. Yet, Dawson refused to leave, reiterating that she was ill. Someone from the hospital staff then called the police to have her removed.
Barbara Dawson might still be alive if hospital staff and police had listened to her. These were her last moments: https://t.co/WS0WjfvZ6E
— AJ+ (@ajplus) January 10, 2016
When officers arrived to the scene, they asked Dawson to leave the hospital, but she refused again, stating, “No, no, no.” A police dashcam captured the exchange between Dawson and the Officer John Tadlock, revealing that the officer told her that should could leave peacefully or he would force her out.
“Here’s what’s going to happen. You can walk out of this hospital peacefully or I can take you out of the hospital. You’ve been discharged and you have to leave.”
Although Dawson continued to resist, the police officer pulled her outside and handcuffed her in an attempt to arrest her for disorderly conduct and trespassing. Yet, as soon as she walked outside, she collapsed onto the street for close to 20 minutes.
Tadlock allegedly said that Dawson was faking when she fell and was using a “dead weight” tactic to avoid going to jail. A nurse then appeared outside, helped Dawson up to a sitting position, and checked her pulse. Shortly after, a doctor walked outside and told the nurse to re-admit Dawson.
Dawson was listed in critical condition once re-admitted, but at 6:24 a.m, less than two hours later, the 57-year-old was declared dead.
U.S News and World Report reports that Florida Department of Law Enforcement officials are currently investigating the case, and the autopsy results should be available by Wednesday.
According to some of Dawson’s relatives, she asked the hospital staff to give her back the oxygen tank she was using because she was having trouble breathing. Yet, the nurse reportedly told Dawson that her breathing was fine and she didn’t need the tank. Dawson then began pleading for oxygen while begging authorities not to send her to jail.
— CNN (@CNN) January 8, 2016
Although relatives state that the medical staff didn’t perform CPR on Dawson until she was back inside the hospital, Ruth Attaway, administrator and CEO, stated that her team of healthcare professionals did everything they could to save Dawson.
“They did their best trying to save her. Our staff was very aggressive with her treatment. They did everything they could.”
Attaway also revealed that Dawson had already been to the hospital in the past on numerous different occasions, and the police were called before after she brought in a friend with her for medical treatment. However, Dawson’s long history with breathing difficulties should have been sufficient enough for the hospital to take her requests seriously, according to attorneys hired by the family. Dawson had visited numerous hospitals in the Tallahassee area at least 22 times since 1987.
Darryl Parks, the attorney hired by Dawson’s family, stated that he’s initiating his own investigation into the incident and is concerned about the well-being of others that visit the hospital.
“Even the early facts should cause grave concern for her family, but also grave concern for the public.”
Meanwhile, the Blountstown Police Department are waiting for Barbara Dawson’s autopsy results to determine the official cause of death.
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