ER doctor: Lack of oxygen stopped Floyd’s heart

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In this image from video, witness Dr. Bradford Wankhede Langenfeld, the doctor who pronounced George Floyd dead, testifies as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides Monday, April 5, 2021, in the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. Chauvin is charged in the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd. (Court TV via AP, Pool)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The emergency room doctor who pronounced George Floyd dead after trying to resuscitate him testified Monday that he theorized at the time that Floyd’s heart most likely stopped because he didn’t get enough oxygen.

Dr. Bradford Langenfeld, who was a senior resident on duty that night at Hennepin County Medical Center, took the stand at the beginning of Week Two at former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin’s murder trial, as prosecutors sought to establish that it was Chauvin’s knee on the Black man’s neck that killed him.

Langenfeld said Floyd’s heart had stopped by the time he arrived at the hospital.

The doctor said that he was not told of any efforts at the scene by bystanders or police to resuscitate Floyd but that paramedics told him they had tried for about 30 minutes.

Under questioning by prosecutor Jerry Blackwell, Langenfeld said that based on the information he had, death by asphyxiation was “more likely than the other possibilities.”

Chauvin, 45, is charged with murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death May 25. The white officer is accused of pinning his knee on the 46-year-old man’s neck for 9 minutes, 29 seconds, as Floyd lay face-down in handcuffs outside a corner market, where had been accused of trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill for a pack of cigarettes.

The defense argues that Chauvin did what he was trained to do and that Floyd’s use of illegal drugs and his underlying health conditions caused his death.

Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson questioned Langenfeld about whether some drugs can cause hypoxia, or insufficient oxygen. The doctor acknowledged that fentanyl and methamphetamine, both of which were found in Floyd’s body, can do so.

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