In the video above, you'll see a 29-year-old woman die alone on the cold, concrete floor of a jail cell after pleading with hospital staff and police for help. She had already been to two other hospitals seeking help for the pain after what she thought was triggered by a sprained ankle. On her last day alive, she finally complained about her and refused to leave the hospital. The hospital had her arrested.
Anna Brown was homeless and had so much pain in her legs that she couldn’t walk.
When Brown, 29, refused to leave the emergency room at St. Mary’s Health Center in Richmond Heights, Mo., a suburb near inner St. Louis, the police thought she was on drugs and arrested her for trespassing. She’d already been examined, and a doctor said she was healthy enough to go to jail.
The police carried her into a jail cell by her arms and ankles, her body slackened. There were a couple of beds in the cell, but they left her on the concrete floor. A couple of officers stood by the door as she writhed and moaned, and then they walked away. “They thought she was a drug seeker,” an officer said later.
She had stopped moving within 15 minutes and was pronounced dead a short time later.
She’d had blood clots in her legs and lungs, an autopsy found, and no drugs in her system. Family members are now considering a lawsuit in the 6-month-old case, whose details were brought to light by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in an investigation published Sunday that included video of Brown at the emergency room, in the police car and dying in her jail cell. She leaves behind two children and a raft of anger and confusion.
Anna Brown's spiral into poverty and homelessness is just as tragic as her death, and highlights failures within many systems that were in place to help the unemployed (Yes, Anna had been a working tax-payer) and women with children, and the homeless. It's frightening to think of how many more Anna's are out there struggling who now won't even have as much of a chance as Anna Brown after budget cuts everywhere hit those most in need. And Anna Brown, dead at 29, didn't have much of a chance at all.