Powerful new testimony shows how George Floyd died, putting all the harmful rumors to rest
via State of Minnesota

Powerful testimony in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd makes it clear that he died from a "low level of oxygen."

Chauvin's defenders have alleged Floyd's death could have been caused by heart disease or drug use. They've also claimed that Floyd must have been able to breathe because he audibly called out for his mother while Chauvin's knee was on his neck.

However, Dr. Martin Tobin, a pulmonologist who has studied the human respiratory for over 46 years, strongly refuted those claims from the stand.


"Mr. Floyd died from a low level of oxygen," Dr. Tobin, author of the 1,500-page textbook "Principles and Practice of Mechanical Ventilation," said in Hennepin County Court in downtown Minneapolis Thursday.

"It was almost to the effect as if a surgeon had gone in and removed a lung," Dr. Tobin said. "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 the way police restrained Floyd meant he could not take in enough oxygen, which led his heart to stop beating. "The cause of the low level of oxygen was shallow breathing," Tobin said.

Floyd's breathing was lethally shallow due to a combination of three forces. Floyd was laid prone on the street, an officer was kneeling on his neck, and his hands were cuffed behind his back.

The doctor presented a visual during the trial that estimated Chauvin placed 91.5 pounds, or half his body weight, on Floyd's neck.

State of Minneota

The doctor presented another visual in court identifying a small detail most would dismiss as inconsequential, but stood out to the pulmonologist.

"The finger on the street, and on the right image you see his knuckle against the tire—to most people, this doesn't look significant, but to a physiologist, this is extraordinarily significant," Tobin said. "This tells you that he has used up his resources and he is now literally trying to breathe with his fingers and knuckles."

"He's using his fingers and his knuckles against the street to try to crank up the right side of his chest," Tobin said. "This is his only way to try and get air to get into the right lung."

State of Minnesota

Tobin also dismissed the notion that Floyd could breathe because he was able to cry out for his mother while Chauvin's knee was on his neck. He explained that even if someone's airway is reduced by 85%, the vocal cords can still function.

"It tells you how dangerous it is to think, 'Well, if he can speak, he is doing OK,'" Tobin said.

In the video of Floyd's arrest, Chauvin can be heard saying, "It takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to say things."

"It's a true statement, but it gives you an enormous false sense of security," Tobin said. "Certainly at the moment you're speaking you are breathing, but it doesn't tell you if you're going to be breathing five seconds later."

Tobin also dismissed claims that Floyd's death was attributed to his use of fentanyl and heart disease. The drug use would have decreased his heart rate which would have been increased by his heart condition. But neither was the case.

People who overdose on fentanyl usually have a respiratory rate of around ten. "Instead, we find that his respiratory rate is normal at 22," Tobin said.

"Basically it tells you that there isn't fentanyl on board that is affecting his respiratory centers. It's not having an effect on his respiratory centers," Tobin said.

While no one is certain what the verdict will be in the Chauvin case, today's testimony means it's likely to hinge on the former police officer's behavior, not Floyd's underlying health conditions or behavior.

Floyd's death came at a cultural flashpoint when millions of Americans came to realize how Black people have been brutalized by police in America. If the jury found that Floyd was responsible for his own death, it could have had a chilling effect on the ongoing fight against social injustice.

Dr. Tobin's testimony squarely places the onus on abuse of state power by the police, not on the behavior of a Black man.

Chauvin has been charged with second and third-degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter in Floyd's death. If convicted, he faces up to 65 years in prison.

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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