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Insiders: Hospital Installs New Cameras After Blountstown Woman's Death

Insiders: Hospital Installs New Cameras After Blountstown Woman's Death
Posted at 10:53 PM, Jan 07, 2016
and last updated 2017-12-13 05:24:29-05

BLOUNTSTOWN, FL. (WTXL) -- A woman's death has thrust the small town of Blountstown into the national spotlight.

Calhoun Liberty Hospital, where 57-year-old Barbara Dawson collapsed and died, is a small one. It only has 25 beds and one doctor per shift.

They don't perform surgeries but the staff is equipped to stabilize patients with serious conditions and send them to hospitals in Tallahassee, Dothan, or Panama City.

Despite its size, the Calhoun Liberty Hospital is busy, seeing close to 60 patients during a 12-hour shift.

The morning of December 21st was steady for the hospital.

 Dawson was at the emergency room after being picked up by ambulance because she said she was having abdominal pain. She was treated and discharged, but the hospital said she refused to leave.

Police say Dawson was also being disruptive  so hospital staff called them.

When the officer got there he says he tried to talk Dawson into leaving, but she wouldn't. That is when they say Dawson got even more agitated

The officer arrested Dawson for disorderly conduct and trespassing.

While still in handcuffs, Dawson collapsed just outside of the hospital.

She was readmitted, but she was soon pronounced dead at the hospital. An autopsy showed she died from a blood clot.

"What we think is that they put criminality over healthcare. We think what they did here is compromise public safety by failing to give her the attention that she deserved and needed," said attorney Darryl Rouson. 

The Blountstown police chief says his officer asked medical professionals to keep checking her health status.

A camera set up to record outside of the emergency room did not capture any of what happened that day. The server which stores the video crashed. A problem, the hospital isn't running away from.

"If nothing else for the perception," said hospital CEO Ruth Attaway. "Everyone could've seen what was going on. We want to be transparent with what's going on here. And also for the safety of our staff."

Attaway said that the 13 cameras were saving all the footage to the virtual servers. That server crashed on November 28. All of this happened as the hospital was moving their files to electronic records.

Attaway says since the records move took priority, they did not realize the cameras had stopped recording.

The cameras are now being installed along with a new server.

 "We felt like we needed better coverage inside and out," said Attaway. "So we are making sure we have full coverage of the hospital. They are a high tech model, top of the line. It was good to update."

Hospital officials say there are now safeguards in place that will detect any malfunction. And the live feed will be available to administrators 24/7—even on their cellphones.