Doctor Bradford Langenfeld, the emergency physician who treated George Floyd once he arrived at the hospital, said during Monday’s trial it’s possible but less likely that drugs caused Floyd’s death.
Langenfeld told prosecutor Jerry Blackwell that Floyd’s heartbeat was not beating “to a degree sufficient to sustain life” when he arrived at the hospital. Doctors and paramedics performed CPR on Floyd and gave him medications to resuscitate him. (RELATED: Senior Officer During Chauvin Trial: Use Of ‘Deadly Force’ On George Floyd Was ‘Totally Unnecessary’)
At the hospital, Paramedics did not give him any information indicating that they believed Floyd had suffered a heart attack or an overdose, Langenfeld said. Floyd was in PEA status, or pulseless electoral activity status, meaning that he did not have a pulse but had some electrical activity registering on the monitor. PEA status is most commonly caused by bleeding or oxygen deprivation, the doctor added.
Floyd was in cardiac arrest – a term that is often used interchangeably with a heart attack but is not synonymous. Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart malfunctions and unexpectedly stops beating, while a heart attack is when blood flow to the heart gets blocked.
Langenfeld told defense attorney Eric Nelson that drugs such as fentanyl, methamphetamine, or a combination of the two could cause hypoxia, which is a low pressure of oxygen in the bloodstream. (RELATED: Jury Selection Begins In Derek Chauvin Trial)
Langenfeld said that drugs or other toxins could have caused Floyd to go into cardiac arrest, but asphyxia, which is a certain type of hypoxia typically caused by trauma or injury, was “one of the more likely possibilities.”
Floyd also had extremely high carbon dioxide levels, which could be caused by the use of fentanyl, Langenfeld said. Typically, a person has carbon dioxide levels between 35 and 45, but Floyd had levels over 100.