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I find this to be an interesting legal conundrum. Does the man in question need support, or does he deserve jail time? Note the reason he skipped a dose of medication......

TB patient charged in Calif for not taking meds - Yahoo! News

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Armando Rodriguez was warned several times to continue taking his tuberculosis medicine.

At one point, authorities said, he told his case officer he stopped the treatment out of concern for his liver while binging on alcohol and methamphetamine.
So on Tuesday, authorities took the unusual step of arresting Rodriguez and charging him with refusing to comply with a tuberculosis order to be at home at certain times and make appointments to take his medication.
It's a move that divides public health officials.

"I think it's an error to confine someone in the criminal justice system for a public health crime," said Lawrence Gostin, a Georgetown University public health law professor who drafted a model law adopted by several states struggling with the issue. "The whole intention is to protect the public's health. It's not to lay blame on someone."

Health officials say Rodriguez, 34, of Stockton has active pulmonary tuberculosis, which can include coughing up blood or phlegm and can spread through the air.

Rodriguez has been noncompliant with his treatment and could become contagious as a result, Ginger Wick, nursing director for San Joaquin County, said in a letter requesting a warrant for Rodriguez's arrest.

After failing one time to give himself the drugs, Rodriguez told a nurse he had gone on an alcohol binge and taken methamphetamine and didn't want to hurt his liver, Wick said in her letter.

Rodriguez was arrested Tuesday and is expected to be arraigned Thursday on two misdemeanor counts.

He will likely be appointed a public defender.

Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that usually attacks the lungs. Many people have a latent form, and the active form usually only affects adults whose immune systems are compromised, which can happen from drug use.
Public health experts are divided on the issue of mandatory treatment and criminal charges for patients who don't comply with treatment orders.
Many of those who do support criminal prosecution in the rarest of cases when public health is in jeopardy oppose the jailing of patients.

Implementing mandatory treatment should be a last resort, and prosecuting someone for disobeying a public health order is unhelpful and sends the wrong message if protecting public health is the intent, Georgetown's Gostin said.
Instead, the afflicted should be given assistance such as transportation to and from treatments rather than punishment as an incentive to take their medicine, he said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said laws to control the spread of tuberculosis have been in use for more than a century, though regulations differ in each state.

As many as 12,000 new cases of tuberculosis are reported in the country each year, the CDC reported. California recorded 2,317 new cases in 2011, a low since records have been kept.

Nonetheless, officials throughout the nation continue to struggle to stop the spread of tuberculosis, with several drug-resistant strains emerging in recent years.

Federal and state officials don't keep records of the number of people prosecuted for refusing to take their medicines. But some say it's exceedingly rare to file criminal charges in such cases.

San Joaquin County has had more than 30 tuberculosis prosecutions since 1984, prosecutor Stephen Taylor said, noting the county is more aggressive than other jurisdictions in prosecuting patients to get them to take their medication.

"The criminal cases we're dealing with generally involve drug users who are harder to treat and manage because the TB medicines conflict with street drugs," he said. "We have to throw these people in jail and treat them as in-patients. They don't cooperate as out-patients."

Karen Furst, San Joaquin County public health officer, said the county arranges transportation and other services to help patients stick to their drug regimen and turns to the legal system only as a last resort.

"I have to make sure that if I'm aware that somebody is in a position that could possibly be spreading a disease to another person, that I take steps that are necessary to prevent that from happening," she said.

Rodriguez was discharged in March from San Joaquin General Hospital with four medications for active tuberculosis and agreed to take the drugs under observation by a county health official on weekdays and on his own on weekends, authorities said.

He allegedly refused to take the drugs on another day and then was not at home on three occasions and missed an appointment.

Each charge against Rodriguez carries a maximum penalty of a year behind bars. In her letter, Wick said Rodriguez would need nine months of treatment.
_____

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He didnt take the drugs because of an alchol adn drug binge??? he deserves to be quarantined. TB is no joke and he risk infecting others for his selfish vices.
curlypearl and The New Black like this.
I found it amusing that he was more concerned about the TB meds messing up his liver as opposed to the meth and alcohol. SMH.

Although it seems extreme, it sounds as if it was in the public's best interest to forcibly quarantine and treat him. His addiction seems to have clouded his better judgement.
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I found it amusing that he was more concerned about the TB meds messing up his liver as opposed to the meth and alcohol. SMH.

Although it seems extreme, it sounds as if it was in the public's best interest to forcibly quarantine and treat him. His addiction seems to have clouded his better judgement.
Originally Posted by curlysue21
I had to reread that part to make sure i read it right!

Is he serious? Or is he hoping that he get can brownie points for thinking about his liver?
I wouldn't doubt he is serious but I think it is an example of how skewed his way of thinking is. Its probably just an excuse for him to continue with the illegal drugs.

I know people who have that kind of mindset too, although they are not a detriment to public health. They live very unhealthy lifestyles but think important medications are unnecessary.
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What precedents have been set?

There's no precedent for pre-emptivey restricting the freedoms of addicts/substance abusers/sick people any more. Like in the last half century. Even MH community has pretty much just given up, due to budget cuts, etc.

They don't incarcerate the alcoholic until he kills someone DWI. (And even then, probably not...)

They don't prosecute the person living with HIV/AIDS until he has been caught knowingly having unprotected sex and infecting someone.

They don't remove kids from home of a smoker...ever.

What about the severely mentally ill? They slip in and out of the system and rarely does anyone take note until they cause a disturbance or commit a crime.

This is sad but I think, societally, we have moved away from the concept of "the leper colony" and I don't see us going back any time soon.
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Last edited by spiderlashes5000; 05-17-2012 at 03:02 PM.
I found it amusing that he was more concerned about the TB meds messing up his liver as opposed to the meth and alcohol. SMH.

Although it seems extreme, it sounds as if it was in the public's best interest to forcibly quarantine and treat him. His addiction seems to have clouded his better judgement.
Originally Posted by curlysue21
I had to reread that part to make sure i read it right!

Is he serious? Or is he hoping that he get can brownie points for thinking about his liver?
Originally Posted by thelio
Yes! Brownie points from Liver League.They're a very powerful lobby in Washington, I hear.

Dogs and nature abhor a vacuum.
http://geaugadoggy.wordpress.com
What precedents have been set?

There's no precedent for pre-emptivey restricting the freedoms of addicts/substance abusers/sick people any more. Like in the last half century. Even MH community has pretty much just given up, due to budget cuts, etc.

They don't incarcerate the alcoholic until he kills someone DWI. (And even then, probably not...)

They don't prosecute the person living with HIV/AIDS until he has been caught knowingly having unprotected sex and infecting someone.

They don't remove kids from home of a smoker...ever.

What about the severely mentally ill? They slip in and out of the system and rarely does anyone take note until they cause a disturbance or commit a crime.

This is sad but I think, sociealy, we have moved away from the concept of "the leper colony" and I don't see us going back any time soon.
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
Individual freedoms v. public good.

Dogs and nature abhor a vacuum.
http://geaugadoggy.wordpress.com
This kind of thing makes me furious. Stay your drunken drug addled ass at home and take your meds.
curlypearl and The New Black like this.
He didnt take the drugs because of an alchol adn drug binge??? he deserves to be quarantined. TB is no joke and he risk infecting others for his selfish vices.
Originally Posted by thelio
Meth is the hardest drug to kick, and alcohol withdrawal can kill you. If he's addicted to these substances then he's probably not able to just take a break from it. Plus his reasoning was probably severely impaired by all the drugs.

I think that since TB is a very serious, contagious illness, the government should be able to briefly quarantine people who refuse to take medication. It's an extreme course of action, but in this case I think the public good outweighs the man's individual rights. However, jail isn't the right place for a quarantine. And if jail is the only place that's available, then there needs to be a better quarantine protocol.

Last edited by Eilonwy; 05-17-2012 at 11:16 AM.
Clearly he is an addict, so we can't expect reason or concern for others in every decision he makes.

My opinion is that there are times when individual freedoms can be overridden by the public good, and this is probably one of them, but those reasons need to be clearly articulated. I also agree with the law professor that the concern is protection of public health, not punitive measures towards this man. We generally have the choice to accept or refuse medical treatment, and the state can only force treatment when it is clear that not to do so would pose a risk to the public.

Therefore, I think the man should be confined in a hospital (NOT jail) and assessed. If there are reasonable grounds to believe that he cannot comply with his meds, then he should be kept in a health care setting until he is no longer contagious (and also offered treatment for his addictions.) I don't think that he has committed a criminal offence by refusing to ingest something into his own body. I am not sure he has demonstrated an intention to do anything to anyone else by that act, given his circumstances.

Jail is not the place for this. Otherwise they might as well start locking up everyone with STDs who they think might have sex, everyone with anger problems who doesn't take management who might turn violent, etc.

Also, I'm not sure the reason is relevant. What if someone went off the meds because they were depressed and suicidal, or unable to take them due to lack of mental capacity, or some other reason? Should they still be locked up? The issue is that no matter what their reason, the public is at risk because they didn't take the meds, so the focus should be on public safety and not whether so and so is a bad person or has a good reason.
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Last edited by Amneris; 05-17-2012 at 12:08 PM.
He should be quarantined in a hospital until he has recovered from TB then taken to jail for disobeying the order and for taking meth.
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