A veteran pulmonologist testified Thursday that George Floyd’s death was caused in part by Derek Chauvin’s knees pressed against his neck and back, making it difficult for him to breathe, and that Mr. Floyd was showing signs of brain damage about four minutes before Mr. Chauvin lifted his knee from his neck.
Dr Martin J. Tobin, a pulmonologist and intensive care physician in Chicago, told the court that the combination of pressuring Mr Chauvin, handcuffs pulling Mr Floyd’s hands behind his back and Mr Floyd’s body pressed against the street had caused him to die of “low oxygen”.
The testimony of Dr. Tobin on the ninth day of the trial of Mr. Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was charged with the murder of Mr. Floyd, signaled a move to a new phase of the trial in which medical testimony will be essential. Mr Chauvin’s attorney hinted Mr Floyd died from fentanyl and methamphetamine that were found in his system, but prosecutors claim Mr Chauvin killed him by kneeling on top of him for more than nine minutes and cutting off its air supply.
Dr Tobin has categorically claimed that Mr Chauvin caused Mr Floyd’s death on May 25. He said that based on Mr. Floyd’s visible respiratory rate before he became unconscious, the fentanyl in his system “had no effect” on his breathing. .
“A healthy person subjected to what Mr. Floyd was subjected to would have died,” said Dr Tobin.
After analyzing the videos of the arrest, Dr Tobin said he determined that Mr Chauvin had rested his left knee on Mr Floyd’s neck for more than 90 percent of the time Mr Floyd was at ground and that he had kept his left knee. right knee on Mr. Floyd’s back most of the time as well. That pressure, combined with having her hands cuffed behind her back and pushed down the street face down, cut off the oxygen and caused her heart to stop, Dr Tobin said.
“He was crushed between the two sides,” he said.
Mr Floyd needed air so badly at one point that he attempted to lift himself off the ground by pushing his right knuckle against the tire of a police car, Dr Tobin said.
“It’s his only way of trying to get air into the right lung,” the doctor said.
Dr Tobin, who works in pulmonology and intensive care at Edward Hines Jr. Veterans Affairs Hospital and Loyola University School of Medicine, spoke to jurors for more than two hours. He said he asked not to be paid when prosecutors asked him if he would testify in the case. On several occasions he encouraged jurors to feel parts of their own necks to demonstrate what he was saying; most followed.
Dr. Tobin described four factors that he said caused Mr. Floyd’s loss of oxygen and death: Mr. Chauvin’s left knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck, Mr. Chauvin’s right knee on Mr. Floyd’s back and side, Mr. Floyd being handcuffed while lying in the street, and Mr. Floyd being kept in a supine position. These factors combined to only allow Mr. Floyd to breathe short breaths, which was not enough to bring air to the parts of the lungs that allow oxygen to enter the blood.
He said Mr. Floyd’s death could be called “asphyxiation,” which he said is just another word for oxygen deprivation; a prosecutor told jurors at the start of the trial that Mr. Floyd died of asphyxiation.
At one point in a video of Mr. Floyd’s arrest, Dr. Tobin noted, Mr. Chauvin’s left foot appeared to be lifting off the ground, which the doctor said meant half of his body weight. Mr. Chauvin was pressing on Mr. Floyd’s neck.
After about 4 minutes and 51 seconds, Dr Tobin said, Mr Floyd stopped talking or moaning. After a little over 5 minutes, Mr. Floyd appeared to straighten his legs, which, according to Dr. Tobin, was a sign that Mr. Floyd was having some type of seizure because he had suffered a brain injury from the oxygen deprivation.
The doctor said the handcuffs were also an “extremely important” factor in Mr. Floyd’s death because Mr. Chauvin and another officer pushed his hands up and against his back, pressing his chest against the hard street. .
“When you are lying on your stomach and with your knee on your back, now the work Mr. Floyd has to do becomes enormous,” said Dr Tobin, adding, “He has to try to lift the officer’s knee up. every breath. . “