Woman Forced to Leave Hospital Was on Ground 18 Minutes

Dashcam video released in Florida incident
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2016 1:40 PM CST

The Florida woman who died after being forcibly discharged from a hospital collapsed outside, and lay on the ground for almost 18 minutes before a doctor readmitted her, according to police dashcam video released Wednesday. Tallahassee's Calhoun Liberty Hospital called police after 57-year-old Barbara Dawson was discharged but refused to leave on Dec. 21; she had been admitted the night before for abdominal pain, but said she was having trouble breathing, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. The responding officer arrested her for disorderly conduct and trespassing after she wouldn't leave her hospital room, the AP reports. Her oxygen was disconnected as she insisted she couldn't breathe, and the officer escorted her to the parking lot, where she collapsed near the police car waiting to take her to jail.

The Democrat has a timeline of the dashcam video. After Dawson's collapse, the officer says, "Falling down and lying down like this is not going to stop you from going to jail," and insists to Dawson's aunt that Dawson is fine. A few minutes later, hospital staffers say, "Mrs. Dawson get up. There's nothing wrong with you, and I know you can hear us," and "For somebody who can't breathe without the oxygen, you're putting it off that much longer." With still no response, the officer requests an EMS transport to jail and tells the dispatcher Dawson is being non-compliant and "faking it." Eleven minutes after her collapse, hospital staff takes her vitals, and 18 minutes after the collapse, she is readmitted by a doctor who says, "This is totally different from what I discharged her for." She died about an hour later of a blood clot in her lung. Dawson's family's attorneys say both the hospital and police were negligent. Multiple state agencies are investigating, and the hospital says it is cooperating. (More Florida stories.)

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