A woman suffering from tuberculosis who violated a court order and refused treatment and isolation for more than a year may finally be detained
Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that causes symptoms such as coughing, sputum, fever, and dyspnea, and it affects about 10 million people worldwide every year, and about 1.6 million people die. Because tuberculosis is airborne through bacteria scattered by the patient's cough, patients may be required to take isolation measures, but women living in the United States have been suffering from tuberculosis for more than a year, violating court treatment and isolation orders. It was reported that he continued to do so and was finally on the verge of being detained.
Pierce County TB patient given court order in January 2022 | Tacoma News Tribune
US woman has walked around with untreated TB for over a year, now faces jail | Ars Technica
Some people may have the image of tuberculosis as a disease of the past, but even at the time of writing the article, it is a dangerous infectious disease that kills about 1.6 million people worldwide annually, and the outbreak of drug-resistant tuberculosis bacteria. is also a serious problem. In Japan,11,519 people were registered as new patients in 2021 alone, and 1,884 people died, and about 600 deaths have been confirmed in the United States in 2021.
Tuberculosis has a high mortality rate if left untreated and requires a long period of treatment. Even if there are no complications, it is necessary to continue taking multiple antibiotics for 4 to 6 months, and in the case of drug-resistant tuberculosis, treatment for up to 20 months may be required. With proper treatment, the risk of infecting others disappears in a few weeks and can be cured completely, but some patients may refuse treatment or isolation until the infectivity is gone.
On January 30, 2023 (Monday), the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) in Washington State, USA, announced that it was ``monitoring a woman with tuberculosis who continued to refuse multiple court orders to treat and isolate her tuberculosis. We are.” Nigel Turner, director of TPCHD's infectious disease division, told local newspaper The News Tribune: 'We don't normally announce cases like this. We've had several inquiries about this case. Therefore, we have decided to be as transparent as possible by sharing information to provide context about the case.'
The TPCHD has ordered through the courts to treat and isolate the women to protect public health. On January 26, 2022, the first court order was issued to the woman to stay at home and isolate, providing drug treatment for tuberculosis, but the woman did not comply with isolation or treatment. After that, February 14th, February 24th, March 24th, April 19th, May 17th, June 28th, July 27th, August 25th, September 27th, October 21st Orders were issued on Sunday, November 18th, and December 16th, but he continues to violate both orders and continues to live with tuberculosis symptoms progressing.
Then, in January 2023, the woman had an accident while riding in a car driven by another person, and the next day complained of chest pain and visited the emergency department. Because the woman did not tell her doctor that she had tuberculosis, the health care workers who examined her were also at risk. In addition, the condition of the lungs captured in the X-ray photograph was so bad that doctors who did not know that the woman had tuberculosis suspected that it might be lung cancer, and the symptoms of tuberculosis were said to have progressed considerably. increase. In addition, the woman was also tested positive for the new coronavirus infection (COVID-19), strongly suggesting that she was not following isolation measures.
On January 11, 2023, TPCHD took issue with the fact that he was in a car driven by another person and stayed in the same space for a long time even though he had tuberculosis, and that he did not follow the quarantine order. filed a supplementary petition with the court on the point of And a court order issued on January 20 called for 'electronic home surveillance, detention in Pierce County Jail, and other further action by lawful court order' if the woman failed to comply. It was noted that there is a possibility that
The Department of Health has the legal authority to issue enforceable court orders against patients who pose a public health risk. 'In very rare cases, steps like this must be taken to ensure that the person does not put others at risk,' said Kenny Veer, head of the TPCHD's media division. As part of the order, local law enforcement may be requested to assist as needed to ensure compliance, an action that is extremely rare and has only occurred in three cases in the last 20 years. We have requested assistance from law enforcement agencies.'
Turner told the News Tribune that the infectious disease department views prison detention as a 'last resort.' “We assess the balance between restricting someone’s freedom and protecting the health of our community. 'We want to try different options.' 'Mandatory detention should be the last option we take and should not be taken lightly. But sometimes it is necessary when there is a risk to the public.' There is also,' he commented.
The News Tribune contacted the patient's attorney and asked if the patient had neurological problems such as language barriers or cognitive impairment, but the attorney declined to comment. Turner also declined to comment on individual cases, but said, ``If a patient has a problem taking their medication, it's normal practice to try to make it as easy as possible to take it. Of course, if there is a language problem, we will arrange an interpreter so that it will not become a problem when dealing with TB.'
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