Advertisement
  1. News

Woman dies after being forcibly removed from hospital

Published Dec. 23, 2015

TALLAHASSEE — 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 today, 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 staffers 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."

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Stay with tampabay.com for the latest news and updates. Times
    She was not in a crosswalk when she was hit, troopers say.
  2. Vice President Mike Pence reacts during an immigration and naturalization ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House grounds, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) ALEX BRANDON  |  AP
    Katie Waldman, a former University of Florida student senator, was accused of helping discard independent student newspapers with a front-page endorsement of a rival party’s candidate. | Analysis
  3. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. JAMAL THALJI  |  Tampa Bay Times
    John Clark used a shotgun to kill his mother and another man. Then he returned to the crime scene with a shotgun, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
  4. Sandra Gero, a regional search associate at Ray and Associates, hosts a meeting at the Middleton High School auditorium and gathers public comments on what people are looking for for the next Hillsborough County School Superintendent on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019 in Tampa. LUIS SANTANA  |  Times
    Using public meetings and a survey, they’re painting a picture of the ideal school leader.
  5. The main exhibit center at the Museum of Science & Industry in Tampa once stirred the imagination with dinosaurs and stars. Now, it's empty, but on the verge of rebirth as a movie studio.
    The County Commission has set aside $2 million for the project as the Film Commission studies the demand for it.
  6. President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the East Room of the White House, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) PATRICK SEMANSKY  |  AP
    Hunter Biden worked for a Ukrainian gas company.
  7. Reclaimed water rates are increasing 6 percent in St. Petersburg.
    Potable, waste and reclaimed water fees will all increase. So will garbage fees, though the stormwater fee will drop for some.
  8. Joshua Russell, 26, faces a charge of aggravated manslaughter, according to deputies. Pinellas County Sheriff's Office
    A dose of kratom caused the caretaker to fall asleep for hours inside a hot minivan with the disabled man in the back seat, investigators said.
  9. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor announces federal grants Friday that will equip at least 600 officers with body cameras. CHARLIE FRAGO  |  Charlie Frago
    Mayor Jane Castor announces a nearly $600,000 Department of Justice grant Friday.
  10. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri spoke Friday about a child protection investigator who was arrested on charges of falsifying reports. JOSH SOLOMON  |  Josh Solomon
    It’s the second time in two years a Pinellas child protection investigator has faced falsification charges.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement