Judge dismisses most of lawsuit over death of woman forcibly removed from Florida hospital

A federal judge dismissed the majority of a lawsuit Monday filed by the representative of the estate of Barbara Dawson, who died in December 2015 after being forcibly removed from Calhoun Liberty Hospital in Blountstown, Fla., according to the Tallahassee Democrat.

Ms. Dawson, 57, arrived at Calhoun Liberty by ambulance Dec. 20, 2015, and was admitted at about 10:30 p.m. with complaints of stomach pain. Although she was discharged within hours, Ms. Dawson felt she needed more care and refused to leave. Hospital staff called the police around 4:45 a.m. on Dec. 21, 2015, and Ms. Dawson was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing. By 6:24 a.m., Ms. Dawson was dead.

A police dash-cam video released after her death shows Ms. Dawson collapsing as she was being escorted to a police patrol car. Ms. Dawson was propped against the patrol car for 18 minutes as nurses and an officer repeatedly tried to get her in the car. Finally, a physician came out of Calhoun Liberty, said Ms. Dawson's condition appeared to have changed and readmitted her to the hospital where she died a short time later. The medical examiner's office found she died from a blood clot.

Ms. Dawson's family filed a federal lawsuit against Calhoun Liberty and two of its employees, the officer who arrested Ms. Dawson and the City of Blountstown, alleging wrongful death, false imprisonment and battery.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle dismissed the majority of the lawsuit. The only surviving claim alleges the hospital violated the Florida Emergency Services Act, which requires a hospital to stabilize and treat anyone who comes to an emergency department. A trial is slated for early October, according to the Tallahassee Democrat

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