George Floyd’s Autopsy

Dr. Judy Melinek reviews the facts surrounding the death of George Floyd. Here is a key paragraph: “The fact that Floyd appears to be talking to the officer and the officer is taking notes suggests that Floyd is engaging in dialogue. The gait disturbance suggests that Floyd may have been under the influence of alcohol or some other drug that could affect his balance. The grimace as he is being handled suggests that the cuffs are on too tight or that he is in pain during this encounter as the officer pulls up on his cuffed arms. Here’s what I don’t see: I don’t see someone who appears to be suffering from excited delirium when drugs of abuse can cause agitation, hyperthermia, and sudden death. Floyd is not naked or dressed inappropriately for the weather. He does not appear to be sweating profusely. He does not appear to be agitated or violent.”

Another key bit: “There are many reasons why people might say ‘I can’t breathe’ and still be in medical distress. These reasons include increasing fatigue of respiratory muscles; blockage of pulmonary blood flow; incomplete airway obstruction; and acidosis, a buildup of acid in the blood which triggers an increased breathing rate and causes the sensation of shortness of breath.”

Melinek also discusses the details of the first autopsy and the serious difficulties off trying to perform a second autopsy. She concludes that, contributing factors notwithstanding, “The cause of death is police restraint.”

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