Video shows arrest of Florida woman who died after removal from hospital

A 57-year-old woman who died after being forcibly removed from a Florida hospital lay next to a police officer's car in a parking lot for nearly 18 minutes before a physician readmitted her, according to a police dash-cam audio and video released Wednesday.

Lawyers for the family of Barbara Dawson released the video. The family claims Calhoun Liberty Hospital in Blountstown, Fla., and police were negligent in Ms. Dawson's death, according to the Miami Herald.

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. On the newly released recording, a police officer says Ms. Dawson must either go with him or go to jail, but she replies that she can't breathe. Ms. Dawson was subsequently arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing. Her oxygen hose was then disconnected and she was handcuffed and escorted out the hospital.

In the parking lot of the hospital, as the police officer reached for the keys to his patrol car, Ms. Dawson collapsed 1 to 2 feet from the vehicle. 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," according to the Miami Herald.

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.

"We think what they did was put criminality over healthcare. We think what they did here was compromise public safety by failing to give her the medical attention that she needed," Florida Rep. Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg), who is co-counsel for Ms. Dawson's family, told the Miami Herald.

No other recordings of the incident have been located at this time. There is no hospital video because a computer server was down for upgrades on the day of the incident, according to the report.

Calhoun Liberty CEO Ruth Attaway told the Miami Herald the hospital received a copy of the police video and is reviewing it.

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