Washington Woman Held For Treatment After Visiting Casino With Tuberculosis

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  • The woman is considered a risk to public health and safety
  • An arrest warrant was issued after the woman refused to seek the proper treatment for tuberculosis (TB)
  • This is the third time in the past 20 years the local health department has issued a warrant for an arrest to treat a patient

A woman in Washington was held in contempt of court Friday for refusing to be treated for tuberculosis (TB) and visiting a public casino.

“Law enforcement has the civil arrest warrant that authorizes them to detain the patient who is still refusing treatment,” the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department said Friday.

The woman not only visited the casino after her diagnosis but used a public bus to travel to it. She remains in involuntary detention, testing and treatment at the Pierce County Jail after Judge Philip Sorenson authorized her arrest.

On the run

The original arrest warrant was granted on March 3. It was signed after the woman refused to take medication or follow any of the standard procedures for TB patients.

Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease that primarily affects the lungs. It can be spread through the air and results in an array of symptoms, including chills, fever, weight loss, and a severe cough. It can also be fatal if it is not treated properly.

Healthcare providers are required to report all cases of TB, of which there are roughly 20 annually, to the authorities. 

"We have worked with family and community members for more than a year to do everything we can to persuade this woman to take her medication to protect herself and our community," the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department said in a statement. 

According to court documents, the Pierce County Corrections Bureau had the woman under surveillance as far back as a month prior to her arrest. During that time, an officer noted that a city bus picked her up and dropped her off at the casino.

Documents also revealed that the police had not seen the woman return to her home in the time since. Members of the woman’s family have not provided any comment on the situation. 

Pierce County Corrections Bureau Chief Patricia Jackson believes that the woman behaved the way she did because she was actively evading her arrest.

Seriousness of the case

Not even a recent $500,000 casino heist is of more concern to the public than the Washington woman’s escapades.

According to the World Health Organization, TB kills more than 1.6 million people around the world every year. Drug treatments can be needed anywhere from six-24 months, and multi-drug resistance is also becoming a serious issue.

TB is not as great of an issue in the USA but is still considered a highly-dangerous and lethal disease. 

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department said that it never wanted this ordeal to escalate to its current status and would have preferred if the woman underwent the regular treatment under her own power.

Treatment includes the use of a combination of drugs and, in many instances, isolation. 

"We are always hopeful a patient will choose to comply voluntarily," said the department in a statement. "Seeking to enforce a court order through a civil arrest warrant is always our last resort." 

This is the third time in the past 20 years that the department has pursued a court order to forcibly treat a patient with TB that is a risk to public health.

The woman can be held for up to 45 days for treatment or until she is no longer a public safety risk.

The woman, who has an attorney representing her, did not appear in court Friday. Perhaps she would have been better off accepting the usual treatment and frequenting an online casino.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.