Officials at a St. Louis hospital on Thursday defended their actions in the case of a homeless woman who sought treatment for a sprained ankle and died in police custody after being arrested for refusing to leave the emergency room.
An autopsy determined that Anna Brown’s death in a jail cell in September was caused by blood clots that formed in her legs and migrated to her lungs, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The newspaper also obtained surveillance footage of the woman’s final moments. In the video, officers are seen carrying Brown into a jail cell. The cell door closes and Brown is heard moaning and crying.
Brown’s family says authorities treated the 29-year-old mother of two unfairly and have hired a St. Louis-based lawyer, Keith Link. Link did not respond to telephone messages from msnbc.com on Thursday.
St. Mary’s Health Center says its staff followed medical guidelines and performed appropriate tests, acknowledging the “outrage being expressed in this tragic event.”
“Unfortunately, even with appropriate testing using sophisticated technology, blood clots can still be undetected in a small number of cases,” according to a statement released by St. Mary’s Health Center on Thursday. “The sad reality is that emergency departments across the country are often a place of last resort for many people in our society who suffer from complex social problems that become medical issues when they are not addressed. It is unfortunate that it takes a tragic event like this to call attention to a crisis in our midst.”
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