Irish doctor played pivotal role in helping convict Derek Chauvin of George Floyd’s murder

Irish doctor played pivotal role in helping convict Derek Chauvin of George Floyd’s murder

AN IRISH doctor played a crucial role in securing the conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd in the US last year. 

The former Minneapolis policeman could face up to 75 years in prison after being convicted of second-degree murder, third degree murder and manslaughter, 

He was convicted following a three-week trial during which jurors heard from 45 witnesses and experts on the important details of the case. 

Floyd died on May 25, 2020, after being arrested by police amid accusations he had tried to use a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes from a nearby shop. 

The subsequent arrest and footage of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck while he pleaded “I can’t breathe” sent shockwaves around the world. 

Floyd passed out and later died in police custody with experts estimating that Chauvin kept him knee on the African-American victim’s neck for nearly nine minutes.  

Chauvin was eventually arrested and charged with both murder and manslaughter. He pled not guilty to all charges during the trial. 

After three days of deliberation, the jury came back with a unanimous verdict of guilty on all three charges. It was a verdict that sparked emotional celebrations outside the courthouse and throughout the world. 

It could have gone differently though. 

During the court case, the defence argued that Floyd died as a result of drug use and the condition of his heart. 

That stood in stark contrast with the prosecution’s claims that it was Chauvin’s decision to kneel on Floyd’s neck for an extended period of time that ultimately led to his death. 

Ultimately, prosecutor Steve Schleicher sought testimony from an expert source and found one in Dr Martin Tobin, an Irish-born doctor working in the US. 

His testimony proved pivotal in helping to explain how Floyd died and Chauvin’s culpability. 

A lung specialist working at Loyola University Hospital in Chicago, Dr Tobin detailed to the court how Floyd’s death was due to a lack of oxygen, which had been blocked off by Chauvin while he pressed down on the victim’s neck. 

In his initial testimony, Dr Tobin walked the jury through the crucial footage of Floyd’s arrest – footage the doctor said he watched “hundreds of times” to better understand the case. 

He also noted how Chauvin’s knee remained on Floyd’s neck for close to three minutes after it became apparent Floyd had stopped breathing. 

"Mr 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,” he explained. 

When the defence attempted to argue Chauvin’s knee switched positions from Floyd’s shoulder to his back and was not on his neck, Dr Tobin was unconvinced. 

He said: “Officer Chauvin’s knee is virtually on the neck for the vast majority of the time…more than 90% of the time.” 

Dr Tobin highlighted how, in one section of the video footage, Floud attempted to push himself up in order to breath but was unable to due to the way Chauvin’s knee was placed on him. 

He surmised that even an individual with no underlying health concerns would have likely died if placed in that kind or scenario. 

The defence argued back, through expert witness Dr David Fowler, that Floyd may have perished as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning from a nearby car. 

Dr Fowler also pointed to Floyd’s ongoing heart disease issues and the presence of fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system 

"The more the individual is stressed, both physically and in other ways, the more the demand on the heart is going to increase,” he said. 

Dr Tobin disagreed once again, however, with the Irish physician noting Floyd’s blood oxygen level was at 98% in reading that dismissed the notion of carbon monoxide poisoning. 

He explained: “If haemoglobin is saturated at 98 per cent, it tells you all there was for everything else is two per cent, so the maximum amount of carbon monoxide would be two per cent.” 

The Irish medic also noted that excessive fentanyl use would have likely seen Floyd fall into a coma before he died but that simply didn’t happen. 

A clear and concise explanation of the medical impact of Chauvin’s aggressive and unlawful use of force, Dr Tobin’s testimony played a crucial role in the conviction of the former police officer, dispelling the theories put forward by the defence while setting out the clear facts of the case. 

Many were keen to pay tribute to his efforts.

A shout-out to the venerable, world-renowned pulmonologist Dr. Martin Tobin for his calm, piercing testimony.," one person wrote on Twitter.

“His endearing Irish accent & crystal clear, unflappable answers to Jerry Blackwell's questioning gave me hope early on that justice will be served. Thank you, good man!” 

"The Irish warrior for truth and justice," another wrote.

"Love Dr. Tobin."