I can’t breathe: Barbara Dawson should be alive today

Barbara Dawson, 57, collapsed and died while handcuffed in the street on the Monday before Christmas outside Liberty Calhoun Hospital in Blountstown, FL after she was arrested by police and forcibly removed from ER where she sought medical assistance to help her breathe. She died of a massive pulmonary embolism that could have been diagnosed within a few minutes and successfully treated by the medical staff upon admission to the hospital.

NBC News reports,

Police were called to the emergency room when Dawson, who had been discharged by physicians, refused to leave. She was charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing and was escorted out of the hospital in handcuffs.

Dawson then collapsed as she arrived at the officer’s car.

“Our officer asked for help once he realized the patient did indeed appear to be unresponsive and had medical staff respond to Ms. Dawson,” Blountstown Police Chief Mark Mallory said in a statement on Wednesday.

Dawson was readmitted to the emergency room — where she was pronounced dead an hour later. The Florida state medical examiner ruled on Wednesday that she died from natural causes due to a blood clot in her lung. The blood clot was due to Dawson being excessively overweight, officials said.


Dawson’s aunt Angela Donar witnessed the incident, according to NBC station WJHG. Donar said her niece didn’t leave the hospital because she was still in pain, even though she was deemed medically stable to leave.

“When he got her to the car, he opened the door and tried to put her in the car and after then she collapsed,” Donar told the station. “They got the doctor to come out there and get a pulse of her and they couldn’t get no pulse. They bought a stretcher out there and took her back in the hospital.”

According to Chief Mallory, she was arrested for disorderly conduct and trespassing when she refused multiple requests to leave the ER.

According to CEO Ruth Attaway of the Calhoun Liberty Hospital, pulmonary embolisms are “difficult to detect and can be impossible to treat.”


No reasonably competent medical professional in a hospital ER would refuse to treat, discharge and call the cops on a patient who came into the ER complaining that she was experiencing chest pain and having difficulty breathing. The staff would have been able to visualize the PE with a Chest Spiral CT.

Wikipedia explains what a pulmonary embolism is and this is what it looks like.

Saddle Pulmonary Embolism (PE) Dr. Nir Hus MD., PhD. Image #3
Photo courtesy of Dr. Nir Hus, MD, PhD at Flickr

Wikipedia does not list obesity as a risk factor for pulmonary embolisms.

Daryl Parks is representing Ms. Dawson’s family. He works with Benjamin Crump. I do not believe he is going to have any trouble piercing the victim-blaming smokescreen spewed out by CEO Attaway.

Victim blaming is disgusting. Blaming a patient for dying after you kick her out of your ER is unconscionable.

I can’t breathe.

20 Responses to I can’t breathe: Barbara Dawson should be alive today

  1. bettykath says:

    You probably know about Ethan “Affluenza” and his 10 years of probation that ends when he is 19 for drunk driving and killing four people and injuring others. He is now 18 and in an immigration detention cell in Mexico. His lawyer is taking legal means to keep him from being extradited back to TX. But I’ll bet you didn’t know that his dad has a law enforcement badge.

    excerpt (more at the link)
    One of Lakeside’s police badges is out of safe hands.

    Now two chiefs are asking how many more are out there, and who has them.

    Both the current and past police chief in the town of 1,500 residents west of Lake Worth were surprised this week when North Richland Hills police arrested a Lakeside businessman and said he showed a city police badge.

    Fred Couch, 48, is known to police in two counties for other reasons, not the least of which is his son’s confinement in a juvenile delinquency case involving a drunken-driving crash that killed four people and injured 12.

    North Richland Hills police say Fred Couch was at the scene of a July 28 residential disturbance and showed what looked like a badge and a law enforcement identification.

    Officers said Couch called it “my Lakeside police stuff.”

    “We are trying to figure out what he has and how he got it,” Lakeside Chief Lee Pitts said Thursday.

    Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/bud-kennedy/article3870330.html#storylink=cpy

    Lake Worth and Lakeside are
    north of Dallas.

    • Malisha says:

      Likely he GOT it because of his connections with the police and his liberal use of $$$ to buy himself (and, obviously, his family) influence and the right to do to others as they don’t want to be done-to themselves. None of this surprises me. I wonder if Donald Trump knows about the kind of folks we have sent to MEXICO.

  2. roderick2012 says:

    I take it she was told to leave because she didn’t have any health insurance.

    It’s always Florid-duh, Flori-duh, Flori-duh!!!

    • Malisha says:

      If she’s Black, I bet it is even worse than that. For a while I was a lecturer and panel leader for the Public Health Service. I met a doctor who had been a clinic director for an under-served area in the deep south. Doctors reporting to her had a category for an illness they “diagnosed” in many of their Medicaid patients. It was code for “don’t bother looking for a real medical condition; the patient is not really sick; she’s just a pest.” Their “alphabet soup” description of this “illness” was: “TNF-NOS” which stood for the words “trivial n****r fit – not otherwise specified.” They would tell these patients to “keep away from” certain foods or something for a while and end the visit without a referral to any specialist or any testing to really find out if there was a treatable condition or disease. Of course, this doctor did not report anyone to the Medical Board for this conduct.

  3. a2nite says:

    FYI: the evil white racist prosecutors is letting Tamir Rice’s murderers off the hook. Gotta protect evil white kkkops.

    • roderick2012 says:

      We knew that this was coming and as usual the announcement is made near a holiday.


      These bullshitters think everyone else is stupid.

      • Malisha says:

        We may not be stupid but we’re powerless. All the intelligence in the world won’t save us from them.

        • anita says:

          The out &out murder of that 12 yr. old child was horrible. The rotten, lying, killing pigs are long out of control. I am afraid these crimes by cops will ony increase. I’ve read & heard they are on steroids. Anyone else heard this?

          • Malisha says:

            I think the drug they are on is rage. White-privilege-defense rage. It makes them feel like MEN. They are afraid they’re going to be stripped of some of their inappropriate power, so they pump themselves up on this rage drug, and they kill. You don’t hear of many female cops killing people indiscriminately, do you?

  4. Two sides to a story says:

    Everyone knows when they’re not well, even when doctors or technicians don’t find a cause, so I certainly couldn’t fault this woman for not wanting to leave the ER with the condition she was experiencing. Calling the cops let alone arresting and handcuffing anyone in that position is total BS. Definitely the hospital and LE should be liable for her death. Public apologies are also due.

    I once had an intense gall bladder attack and was told by a rude and dismissive ER physician that I was having a panic attack as the pain was winding down – he was a self-proclaimed expert on panic attacks, ha . . .

    I actually had a gallstone nearly the size of a quarter and I wasn’t panicky at the time and just needed to figure out the source of the pain. I wasn’t in imminent danger of dying, but still, that victim blaming, disgusted stance was hurtful and any professional who indulges in this needs a serious attitude adjustment. I don’t give a hoot how many unreasonable and panicky people medical professionals or cops see every day or any other excuse they offer for this callous behavior.

    I don’t understand the society we live in any more!

  5. bettykath says:

    Tamir Rice killers will not be charged. “They had every reason to believe their lives were in danger.” So cops who put themselves in “danger” have the right to kill. So many cops don’t have a clue when it comes to assessing a situation. No one was threatened except the cops who put themselves close to the Tamir. A more reasoned response could have had a very different outcome. So what was presented to the Grand Jury?

    • Malisha says:

      I don’t believe they thought their lives were in danger, either.

      Those are just the magic words killer cops say to get exonerated, even blessed. If what they did was motivated by fear, they had no reason at all to mistreat the child’s sister once he was on the ground immobilized. They were killer cops who were “radicalized” by white supremacist terrorists.

    • gblock says:

      What they are claiming is that Tamir Rice was pulling the gun from the waistband of his pants, not necessarily with the intention of threatening the cop, but the cop saw it as a possible or likely threat. I’ll believe it when I see it on video.

  6. Disappointed says:

    Why can no one admit they made a mistake and apologize? I raised my children on those principals. Sometimes I’m sorry means more than anything. Since the hospital has chosen to blame the victim I hope her family sues them. Believe me I do not believe money will take away the pain but maybe in the future they will own their mistakes and not blame the victim.

    • Malisha says:

      I hope the hospital AND the police get sued. The police should have used a bit of discretion here as well and they DEFINITELY should not have cuffed a person who was not committing a crime.

  7. Malisha says:

    There should be a special category of punitive damages applied for victim-blaming. It should be greater than treble damages.

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