Florida Woman Dies After Police Remove Her From Hospital

| by Jordan Smith
Barbara Dawson.Barbara Dawson.

A Bristol, Florida, woman collapsed and died outside a hospital after police arrested and then removed her from the medical facility on Dec. 21.

Barbara Dawson, 57, had been discharged after receiving treatment, but believed she needed more, media reports say.

After Dawson had been treated for breathing problems, doctors said she was stable and ready for release.

According to WMBB-TV, hospital officials said Dawson became verbally combative and refused to leave, prompting them to call the police.

Dawson was charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing, before being led outside in handcuffs by an officer. She collapsed on the way to the officer's car.

Although she was rushed back into the building, medical personnel later pronounced her dead.

“They did their best trying to save her,” hospital administrator Ruth Attaway told the Tallahassee Democrat. “Our staff was very aggressive with her treatment. They did everything they could.”

Dawson’s family is angry about the actions of hospital officials and the police. Relatives say the woman had long-running breathing problems, and little account was taken of her medical needs.

They also maintain Dawson required more treatment and an oxygen tank, but neither was provided to her.

Witnesses speaking at an emergency meeting called by the NAACP on Dec. 22 also alleged Dawson was refused treatment, WCTV reported. These reports remain unconfirmed.

“Even the early facts should cause grave concern for her family but also grave concern for the public,” attorney Darryl Parks, who is representing the Dawson family, told the Tallahassee Democrat.

Parks added he intends to sue either the hospital or the Blountstown Police for their roles in Dawson’s death.

The Agency for Health Care Administration expressed its condolences to the family in a statement.

“The Agency is aware of the incident that occurred at Liberty Calhoun Hospital and we’re reviewing the incident to determine appropriate actions within our Agency’s purview,” it said in a statement, according to WCTV.

An autopsy was scheduled for Dec. 22 to determine the cause of Dawson’s death.

Sources: Tallahassee Democrat via WXIA-TV, WMBB-TV, WCTV / Photo credit: Dawson family via WXIA-TV