3 employees removed from duties following death of woman forced out of hospital

Three medical professionals have been removed from their normal duties at Calhoun Liberty Hospital in Blountstown, Fla., after showing a "lack of compassion" in handling the case of Barbara Dawson, a 57-year-old woman who died after being forcibly removed from the hospital last month.

Ms. Dawson arrived at the 25-bed hospital by ambulance on Dec. 20 with complaints of stomach pain, and she was admitted at approximately 10:30 p.m. She was treated and discharged within hours.

Ms. Dawson reportedly felt the need to remain at the hospital for continued care after she was discharged. When she refused to leave, hospital staff called the police at roughly 4:45 a.m. on Dec. 21. Ms. Dawson was subsequently arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing.

A police dash-cam video released last week shows Ms. Dawson collapsing as she was being escorted to a police patrol car. The police officer who arrested Ms. Dawson is heard saying that he thought she "was being noncompliant by not trying to get in my car and faking it."

Ms. Dawson lay propped against the patrol car for 18 minutes as nurses and the officer repeatedly tried to get her in the car. Finally, a physician came out of the hospital, said Ms. Dawson's condition appeared to have changed and readmitted her. By 6:24 a.m., Ms. Dawson was dead. The medical examiner's office found she died from a blood clot due to being excessively overweight.

After viewing the dash-cam video, Ruth Attaway, administrator and CEO of Calhoun Liberty, decided to pull three medical staff members involved in the incident from their normal duties. She placed one person on unpaid administrative leave and removed two others from patient patient care duties until the hospital completes its own investigation, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. Although the names of the staff members placed on leave were not released, Ms. Attaway said the physician who treated Ms. Dawson was not among them.

Ms. Attaway was deeply saddened by the incident and the video footage disturbed her. "The first thing that struck me was a lack of compassion and that cuts to the heart," said Ms. Attaway during a news conference on Monday.

To help prevent a similar incident from happening in the future, the hospital formed a task force to find best practice recommendations for the hospital. The task force includes physicians, hospital administrators, a pastor, a pharmacist and community leaders, according to the report.


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