A Tallahassee woman who refused to leave the hospital after doctors discharged her is dead after being forcibly removed by police.
Fifty-seven-year-old Barbara Dawson entered Liberty Calhoun Hospital to seek treatment for breathing difficulties and stomach pain. Doctors believed Dawson was stable and should have been released, however, Dawson felt like she was still having breathing issues. She refused to leave the hospital.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, the hospital had called the police on her numerous times and once ordered her off the property when she brought a friend in for treatment. According to her family, Dawson had a long history of breathing problems and had visited Tallahassee Hospitals 22 times since 1987.
On Monday, Liberty Calhoun Staff called the Police to have Barbara Dawson Removed. The 57-year-old was arrested for disorderly conduct and trespassing. While under arrest, she collapsed.
The arresting officer removed the handcuffs and escorted her back to the hospital.
Investigation Into Dawson’s Death
The Blountstown Police Department is awaiting the results of a Tuesday autopsy to determine the cause of Dawson’s death.
“We were told by a doctor once she got back in the hospital that her vital signs were good and it was their decision to readmit her” said Blountstown Police Department Chief, Mark Mallory.
Police Dashcam footage of the incident did not capture video but did capture audio at the scene. Officials say it will be released before Christmas.
The Calhoun-Liberty County Chapter of the NAACP held an emergency meeting on Tuesday, and Florida Department of Law Enforcement has been called to investigate the matter.
Hospital Negligence: Sent Home Too Soon?
One of the most common forms of hospital negligence is when a doctor makes the decision to discharge a patient too early, or before they are medically stable. Hospital emergency rooms are often overcrowded, especially around the holidays. With such a rush to get through the patients, staff can sometimes pay so much attention to the number of beds available that they may be too quick to send someone out the door.
In situations where the patient requires medical intervention or dies after the early discharge, it may be considered medical malpractice.
Hospitals will often argue that sending patients home too soon is unavoidable due to overcrowding, however, according to Nolo Law For All, numerous studies have shown that these types of shortages of beds are often due to the Hospital’s poor planning.
If you were discharged from the hospital too early, you may have a medical malpractice claim if the doctor or facility;
- Failed to properly diagnose and treat;
- Failed to conduct proper testing prior to discharge;
- Failed to schedule a necessary follow-up visit; and/or
- Failed to ensure medical stability.
Arresting Barbara Dawson rather than treating her for her breathing issues may be considered a failure to properly diagnose and treat, as well as failure to ensure medical stability.
Protecting Yourself From Premature Hospital Discharge
If you are concerned that a health care professional care facility is discharging you from care too soon, you have the right to request your discharge rights from the hospital and speak with the attending physician. If you have limited ability to care for yourself at home, we urge you to express these concerns.
Tragically, Barbara Dawson was arrested because she did not leave the facility. Tallahassee law firm, Parks and Crump is representing Dawson’s family and plans to file a suit against the hospital, the Blountstown police department, or both.
How To File A Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
When a mistake made by a Doctor, Nurse, or Hospital Staff member leads to the death of a loved one, survivors are flooded with emotions. The sadness of the loss of a loved one is compounded by the anger felt toward negligent parties.
During this difficult time, filing a claim against the hospital can seem like an impossible task. However, consultations with most personal injury law firms including Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers are almost always free of charge, so there is no risk to talk to an attorney about your options. A personal injury lawyer can often offer clarity during what seems like an impossible situation.
An Important Note Regarding Infants
While no infants were involved in Monday’s tragic incident, early discharge of infant patients remains one of the most common forms of premature discharge in the United States. Hospitals must keep a newborn infant in their care for at least 48 hours. In certain situations, an infant’s individual needs require more care.
If you’ve suffered complications or lost a loved one due to a premature hospital discharge, we invite you to speak with an attorney at Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers for free. Consultations are always 100% confidential.
Call us at 314.444.4444 or fill out a case consultation form on our website.