Helpless woman dies after being forcibly removed from hospital

December 23, 2015 5:50 pm

 The 57-year-old woman collapsed while she was being escorted in handcuffs from the hospital in Florida. Photo / Getty

A woman who refused to leave a hospital when doctors discharged her
died after she was forcibly removed by police, authorities said Tuesday.
Barbara
Dawson, 57, collapsed Monday while being escorted in handcuffs from the
Liberty Calhoun Hospital, where she went to seek treatment for
breathing difficulties, said Blountstown Police Department chief Mark
Mallory. Mallory said an officer had arrested Dawson for disorderly
conduct and trespassing.
An autopsy on Dawson has been performed
and the results should be released Wednesday, Mallory said. Florida
Department of Law Enforcement officials have been called in to
investigate, department spokesman Steve Arthur said. He declined to
comment further.
Mallory said that the officer who arrested
Dawson removed the handcuffs after she collapsed and escorted her back
into the hospital.
“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,” he said.

He said dashcam footage from the officer’s car does not show the incident but does pick up the audio.
Hospital
officials did not return telephone calls Tuesday night. Ruth Attaway,
administrator and CEO of the hospital, was quoted by The Tallahassee
Democrat as saying that staff did everything they could to save Dawson.
While
doctors initially thought Dawson was stable and should be released, she
felt like she was still having breathing issues and wanted to stay,
said Tallahassee attorney Daryl Parks, who is representing Dawson’s
family.
“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,” Parks said. “The early facts of this case
should cause a great concern for everyone.”
The Calhoun-Liberty
County chapter of the NAACP held an emergency meeting on Tuesday. Dale
R. Landry, who is the regional vice president for the Florida State
chapter of the NAACP, met with local leaders and the family.
Landry
said he and others are glad state law enforcement officers are getting
involved, “but we strongly believe the death was due to negligence by
the police department and hospital.”

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