RICHMOND HEIGHTS (AP) — Family members have hired an attorney after a homeless relative seeking treatment for a sprained ankle refused to leave a St. Louis hospital, was arrested for trespassing and then died in a jail cell.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported an autopsy revealed blood clots killed Anna Brown when they migrated from her legs to her lungs. No lawsuit has been filed, but Brown’s mother, Dorothy Davis, wants answers.
“If the police killed my daughter, I want to know,” she said. “If the hospital is at fault, I want to know. I want to be able to tell her children why their mother isn’t here.”
In the week before her daughter’s death last September, she went to three hospitals complaining of leg pain after spraining her ankle.
Brown, a 29-year-old woman who had lost custody of two children, refused to leave the third hospital, St. Mary’s Health Center. She yelled from a wheelchair at security personnel and Richmond Heights police officers that her legs hurt so badly she couldn’t stand. She was arrested for trespassing and wheeled out in handcuffs after a doctor said she was healthy enough to be locked up.
She told officers she couldn’t get out of the police car, so they dragged her by her arms into the station. They left her lying on the concrete floor of a jail cell. Just 15 minutes later, a jail worker found her cold to the touch.
Although officers suspected Brown was using drugs, autopsy results showed she had no drugs in her system.
St. Mary’s officials say they did all they were supposed to do for Brown. “Our records show that, in this case, everything that should have been done medically was done properly. We found nothing that would have changed this tragic outcome,” according to a statement.
Police Chief Maj. Roy Wright said his officers had no way of knowing Brown’s condition. “A lot of times people don’t want to stay in jail and will claim to be sick,” he said. “We depend on medical officials to tell us they’re OK.”
Brown’s personal problems came to a head in April when a state Children’s Division representative found Brown’s home in disarray. Brown’s mother was allowed to care for the children as long as Brown didn’t live with them. Brown was soon on the streets, living in four homeless shelters from May to September. Eventually, she joined the St. Louis Empowerment Center, a drop-in center for the mentally ill.
I previously reblogged a post about Anna Brown, but the details are again stated above.
Of the new information, bolded above:
1. Yet another Black mother needlessly and deliberately separated from her children by the child welfare system. A middle-class white woman’s home is “in disarray,” child protective services never would have been called at all, and she’d get a housekeeper. But instead of providing services to the poor Black woman, her children are taken from her and she is explicitly not allowed to live with them, despite no evidence of abuse. This is a common story.
2. It’s apparently okay that police arrested this woman for “trespassing” at a HOSPITAL with a SERIOUS AND LEGITIMATE MEDICAL CONDITION and she died on their jail cell floor, because lots of prisoners “lie” about needing medical attention. Oh, well then! Since prisoners aren’t really people, I guess this practice is totally acceptable and understandable!
3. Anna Brown’s death is tragic, but “nothing would have changed this tragic outcome.” Look, I’m not a doctor. It’s possible that with prompt and competent medical treatment, Anna Brown’s condition was and always would have been fatal. I legitimately do not know. But do you know what was NOT inevitable? Her being DRAGGED BY POLICE OFFICERS from a HOSPITAL because doctors are calling her a LIAR and TELLING HER SHE’S NOT ACTUALLY IN PAIN, and then DYING ALONE ON A JAIL CELL FLOOR.
She could have been given the dignity we give to insured white people who aren’t “suspected of being on drugs” of being allowed to die in a fucking hospital bed, being treated like a human being whose life has worth and value. The level of inhumanity it takes to be unable to see that, to say that this outcome was always guaranteed, is something I do not have words for.