DECEMBER 2015, a woman by the name of Barbara Dawson died in police custody…..AGAIN.
Dawson was rushed to Liberty Calhoun Hospital in Florida after complaining about stomach pains and shortness of breath. After a few hours, the hospital staff cleared Ms. Dawson to go home. Knowing that something was still not right (because we know our bodies), Ms. Dawson refused to leave. Dawson, a 57 year old woman, knew her breathing issues and was well aware that she still did not feel up to par. After several attempts, the hospital staff did not admit her back and check out the symptoms she was still having, they called for police assistance.
You called police because a patient refused to leave because they did not feel well??
The police came and handcuffed Ms. Dawson, forcibly removing her from the hospital around 4:45 a.m. Monday morning citing disorderly conduct and trespassing as the charges for her arrest. A short time later, she collapsed outside of the patrol car, in handcuffs-readmitted to the hospital and a short time later, around 6:24 a.m., Barbara Dawson was pronounced dead.
The cause of death was determined by the state medical examiner as a blood clot in her lungs. Ms. Dawson died of a pulmonary embolism after advising the hospital she still could not breathe. Ms. Dawson died even after her family pleaded with the police to give her oxygen based on her past medical history. According to her family members, a nurse refused to give them Dawson’s oxygen tank because her breathing was “normal” to her.
Are we becoming so robotic, that we’re now losing our unique humanistic qualities? So much stress in the workplace that some people preconceived notions & prejudices are coming to the surface in daily activities? Are we, as black women, becoming endangered? I am beginning to see a trend where if a black woman refuses to do something, she is being loud or obnoxious or needs to be “removed”. I am pretty sure Ms. Dawson put up a fight because she knew her body and she knew she did not feel well. But, society has labeled black women, better yet, Ms. Dawson as a nuisance versus someone with cerebral anoxia or a lack of oxygen.
I blame the medical staff and the police officers. I blame the medical staff because of the non-empathetic people we have overseeing our medical lives. They are medical experts and right now, everything is about the money-not about the care. I blame the police officers because someone should have seen this situation as a different case. Each situation is different and does not warrant the same reaction. I am sure there was a better way to handle this issue…..it’s called common sense.
Black women, we are not on the popular side! Think about it…..
I stand with Ms. Dawson’s family-this should not happen to anyone…ever again.
Prayers to the Dawson family!