Apr 8, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Respiratory expert says preexisting conditions did not cause George Floyd's death

Pulmonary expert Dr. Martin Tobin on Thursday testified Thursday that George Floyd's preexisting conditions had nothing to do with his death.

Why it matters: Tobin said that in his opinion, Floyd died from a lack of oxygen caused by former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on his body. An ER doctor earlier this week similarly testified at Chauvin's trial that Floyd's death was most likely caused by a lack of oxygen.

  • "There was virtually very little opportunity for him to be able to get any air to move into the left side of his chest," Tobin said.
  • "He's jammed down against the street. And so the street is playing a major role in preventing him from expanding his chest," he added.

But the defense has argued that Floyd's preexisting conditions — including a case of COVID-19, drug and nicotine use, and a small abdominal tumor — were factors that pushed his life over the edge during his arrest.

What he's saying: "Floyd died from a low level of oxygen, and this caused damage to his brain that we see and it also caused a PEA arrhythmia that caused his heart to stop," Tobin said on Thursday.

  • Tobin added that fentanyl present in Floyd's system would not have been a cause of death, either.
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