NAACP officials say a Bristol woman died Monday while trying to seek medical help at a Florida hospital after police arrested and forcibly removed her from the hospital.
The Tallahassee Democrat
reports Barbara Dawson
, 57, was rushed in an ambulance Sunday night to Calhoun Liberty Hospital in Blountstown, located about an hour away from Tallahassee, because she was complaining of stomach pain. Blountstown Police say she was treated and then discharged hours later by hospital staff, but Dawson felt she need further medical treatment. Hospital staff banned her from the 25-bed facility and called police when she refused to leave.
After officers told her she could get medical care elsewhere, they arrested her on disorderly conduct and trespassing charges, escorting her out of the hospital, the Democrat
says. Her family told the paper she asked the hospital to return her oxygen tank because it was difficult to breathe, but a nurse told her she didn't need it.
"While outside, relatives said Dawson again "pleaded for her oxygen" and told the officer not to take her to jail. As the officer unlocked the door to his patrol car, Dawson collapsed on the ground. The officer then uncuffed her and summoned medical attention...Hospital staff checked her pulse, oxygen and vital signs three times and told the officer she was fine. However, a doctor readmitted her inside the hospital."
Almost two hours after readmitting her into the hospital, Dawson was dead. The Democrat
reports the police department has launched an investigation, and the hospital administrator says staff "did their best" to save her. The Calhoun-Liberty chapter of the NAACP and the organization's Florida State Conference called an emergency meeting Tuesday to discuss Dawson's death.