Pulmonologist testifies in Derek Chauvin trial that George Floyd died of low oxygen

As former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin and his colleagues pinned George Floyd to the ground for more than nine minutes, the 46-year-old black man’s airflow was so restricted it was “like a surgeon was entered and had “removed” his lung, a pulmonologist testified Thursday.

“A healthy person subjected to what Mr. Floyd was subjected to would have died as a result of what he was subjected to,” said Dr. Martin Tobin, pulmonary intensive care physician and national respiratory specialist of Illinois, after being asked whether a person without pre-existing conditions would have survived the May 25 arrest.

Tobin, a prosecution witness, told jurors in Hennepin County court he believed low oxygen levels caused Floyd’s . He spent hours breaking down, second by second, how Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck for the “vast majority of the time” ultimately caused “low oxygen” and ultimately brain damage. He even identified the moment – when Floyd’s eyes can be seen twinkling and then closing – which he said was Floyd’s last moment alive.

Tobin said the maneuver of pressing a second knee against Floyd’s left side of body, against his chest and lungs, restricted the airflow so much it looked like Floyd having surgery in the middle of the street.

“So basically on the left side of his lung, it was almost like a surgical pneumonectomy for me,” Tobin said. “So there was virtually very little opportunity for him to be able to get air into the left side of his chest.”

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