A doctor specializing in respiratory medicine testified in court Thursday that George Floyd died of asphyxiation after being handcuffed face down on the street with former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin kneeling on him.
Dr Martin Tobin, who works in the intensive care unit at Hines VA Hospital in Illinois and has studied respiratory physiology for 40 years, said Floyd died of “low oxygen levels. , Also known as suffocation or hypoxia.
“It damaged his brain,” said Tobin, “and it also caused a [pulseless electrical activity] arrhythmia that caused his heart to stop.
Floyd’s low oxygen level was caused by “shallow breathing” due to the fact that he was handcuffed while lying against the sidewalk as Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck as well as on his back and chest. side, according to Tobin.
Floyd was “crushed” between the hard ground and the cops as they thrust his handcuffs high behind his back, Tobin said. Such actions “would totally interfere with the central features of the way we breathe,” he added.
“It’s like the left side is in a vise,” Tobin said. “He’s been totally pushed in, squeezed on either side, from the street down and the way the handcuffs are handled.
“It’s like a surgeon has come in and removed the lung – not quite, but in that sense,” Tobin added. “Very few opportunities for him to be able to circulate the air in the left side of his chest. “
Tobin gave his assessment to the court on the ninth day of witness testimony in Chauvin’s trial. Chauvin was charged with second and third degree murder as well as manslaughter in Floyd’s death. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Tobin testified Thursday that Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck prevented air from entering the hypopharynx, a hollow tube that passes food, water and air through the back of the throat.
“When you have to breathe through a narrow passage, it’s like breathing through a straw, but it’s much worse than that,” Tobin said.
Tobin’s testimony undermined the defense argument that drug use – not Chauvin’s actions – played a major role in Floyd’s death.
The doctor who treated Floyd the night he died in May 2020 testified on Monday. He said that given the information he had at the time of Floyd’s death, he believed Floyd had “probably” died of asphyxiation.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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