Authorities in Florida are searching for answers following the death of a Bristol-area woman who was kicked out of a local hospital for demanding medical attention.
Barbara Dawson, 57, died early Monday morning after her limited stay at Liberty Calhoun Hospital, according to The Associated Press. She arrived at the hospital on Sunday at about 10:30 p.m. with complaints of intense stomach pains. Several hours later, doctor’s said she was well enough to be discharged. Dawson disagreed and insisted she needed more help and her oxygen tank, which they were attempting to take away.
Police were called shortly after 4:45 a.m and Dawson’s oxygen tank was cut off. Angela Donar, Dawson’s aunt who was at the scene, claims an employee walked into the lobby where Dawson was seated and used a pair of scissors to cut off the oxygen, notes the report. The officer placed handcuffs on Dawson and charged her with disorderly conduct and trespassing. While walking to the squad car, she collapsed. Dawson was taken back into the hospital and by 6:24 a.m., she was pronounced dead, according to the news outlet.
Now, Dawson’s family and lawyers are demanding answers as to why law enforcement was called for a medical issue. The Florida native had a history of breathing problems and was nearly admitted 22 times since 1987 for her health battles in Tallahassee hospitals, the report says.
Hospital and law enforcement officials released their own version of events which included Dawson allegedly screaming obscenities to the hospital staff about her treatment. No video of the incident was recorded, but dash camera audio picked up Dawson’s pleas for help to the officer.
The Tallahassee Democrat reports:
Blountstown Police Chief Mark Mallory said Dawson was admitted to the hospital about 10:30 p.m. Hours later, she was discharged after being treated and cleared by hospital staff. “She was causing a disturbance in the hospital with her language and the volume of her voice,” Mallory said.
“They did their best trying to save her,” said Ruth Attaway, administrator and CEO of the 25-bed hospital. “Our staff was very aggressive with her treatment. They did everything they could.”
Mallory added that the officer was being polite to Dawson on his arrival, but Donar says the blame should be placed on everyone involved for ignoring her aunts pleas for help.
Relatives dispute the police’s version of events. Her aunt Angela Donar was at the scene that night. She said a doctor couldn’t detect a pulse from her niece before she was taken into the hospital.
The NAACP and the Tallahassee law firm of Parks and Crump plans to represent the family in the case, attorney Darryl Parks announced this week, according to the Democrat. The family plans to file charges against the hospital and the Blountstown Police Department over Dawson’s death.