A Florida woman died after being forcibly removed from a hospital in handcuffs when she refused to leave.
Barbara Dawson, 57, collapsed as she was being escorted out of Calhoun-Liberty Hospital by a police officer.
Dawson, of Blountstown, had gone to the hospital’s emergency room complaining of shortness of breath.
An ER doctor evaluated Dawson and determined she was stable enough to be discharged home.
But Dawson refused to leave because she was still short of breath, according to Blountstown Police Department chief Mark Mallory.
A hospital spokesman said the police were called and Dawson was handcuffed and led out of the hospital.
Dawson collapsed near the emergency room entrance, and the officer removed her handcuffs and transported her back inside.
“We were told by a doctor once she got back in the hospital that her vital signs were [stable] and it was their decision to readmit her,” Mallory said.
Dawson’s family told WCTV she had respiratory problems and was on oxygen 24/7 at home.
Ruth Attaway, administrator and CEO of the hospital, told The Tallahassee Democrat the hospital did everything in its power to save Dawson.
The Dawson family quickly retained an attorney.
“The most reasonable thing to do is to let her sit there and be able to settle down until she felt well,” said Tallahassee attorney Daryl Parks. “Instead, she is forcibly removed and put in cuffs. 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 Monday to discuss the case.
Dale R. Landry, who met with local leaders and the family, said he strongly believes Dawson’s “death was due to negligence by the police department and hospital.”
Landry, who called Dawson’s death “negligent homicide,” said, “if her death was wrongfully determined, then somehow, someway, there needs to be some sort of recompense to the family.”
An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.