Hospital Assumed Woman Faked Illness, Ends Up Being A Deadly Mistake

Barbara Dawson, 57, complained of abdominal pains at Calhoun Liberty Hospital in the Florida Panhandle town of Blountstown five days before Christmas.

Medical staff examined and released her, but she refused to leave. As a result, the hospital called the police who handcuffed her and took her outside. She then collapsed in the hospital driveway. So, Dawson was taken back to the hospital where she died of a blood clot in her lungs the following day.

Daryl Parks, a partner in Parks & Crumb, a nationally known civil rights law firm representing the woman’s family said, “Barbara Dawson should not have lost her life because of a bad assumption."

Now, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Blountstown Police Department and the state Agency for Health Care Administration are all investigating the Dec. 21 death. Mark Mallory, chief of police in Blountstown, about 54 miles west of Tallahassee, said his office had handled the incident properly and had deferred to medical first-responders on the scene.

Benjamin Crump, one of the family lawyers, referred to hospital staff saying “You hear them insisting that she is going to jail. You also hear hospital personnel repeating to her, ‘There’s nothing wrong with you,’ as she continues to be in distress."

Hospital administrator Ruth Attaway said she was cooperating with state investigators. Parks went on to say “You hear him saying to the captain, ‘I thought she was just being non-compliant.' We now know that that assumption cost Barbara Dawson her life.”

Mallory said the arresting officer called a doctor, a nurse and paramedic within a minute of the woman’s collapse.

Mallory continued “Although the officer may have suspected that Ms. Dawson was intentionally non-compliant, he nonetheless fully executed his duty and responsibility, requesting that medical professionals continue to verify Ms. Dawson’s health status."

The hospital cited privacy concerns when explaining why they would not release further details on the woman's condition.

Photo: Liberation News

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