A woman with untreated tuberculosis who rode a municipal bus to a casino is on the run 2023


A woman from Tacoma, Washington, who has refused court-ordered tuberculosis treatment for over a year is evading arrest and has reportedly taken public transportation to a casino.

Since at least January 2022, when she received her first court order, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has attempted to compel the woman to comply with treatment. Since then, she has received more than a dozen court orders requiring treatment and isolation, along with monthly court hearings and order renewals.

Judge Philip Sorensen of the Pierce County Superior Court deemed her in contempt and issued a warrant for her arrest and involuntary detention at the county jail for treatment and isolation last month.

Police say that after following the woman, she is “actively avoiding execution of the warrant.”

The health department wrote in a blog post published days before the arrest warrant was issued, “In every case like this, we continually weigh the danger to the public against the patient’s civil liberties.” “We are always expectant that a patient will voluntarily comply. Using a civil arrest warrant to enforce a court order is always our last resort.”

According to a report from The News Tribune, however, the woman continues to evade authorities and her court-appointed monitor.

In court documents dated April 3, Chief of Corrections Patricia Jackson stated that she ordered a law enforcement officer to observe the woman in order to “determine her behaviors so that the warrant could be executed safely.” During this surveillance, the officer observed the woman “exit her home, board a city bus, and arrive at a nearby casino.”

The surveillance officer reported that the woman did not appear to be at home in the days following her excursion to the casino. In the meantime, neither the woman’s relatives nor her court-appointed monitor have responded to authorities’ attempts to contact her. The conclusion of law enforcement is that the woman is currently “actively avoiding execution of the warrant.”

Ars reached out to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, but a representative did not respond to queries regarding the risk posed by the woman to the public and her current location. The representative only referred to a simple April 6 blog update from the health department that reads:

The civil arrest warrant that authorizes law enforcement to detain the patient who continues to refuse treatment is in their possession.

During a meeting of the health department’s board committee on Wednesday, Nigel Turner, the department’s director of communicable disease control, informed board members that the Pierce County sheriff is arranging for her detention, though it is currently unknown when this will occur. Ars’s request for comment from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department was not immediately met with a response.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis causes the potentially fatal bacterial infection tuberculosis. It travels through the air when an infected individual coughs, sneezes, spits, or releases bacterial cells into the environment. During protracted contact with an infected person, the risk of transmission is greatest. However, inhaling a small number of bacterial cells is sufficient to cause an infection, and its treatment requires extensive antibiotic regimens lasting four to twenty months.

According to the World Health Organization, tuberculosis will be one of the leading infectious disease murderers in the globe in 2021, causing 1.6 million deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 7,882 tuberculosis cases in 2021 and 600 tuberculosis-related fatalities in 2020 in the United States. The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department reported that Washington state averages approximately 200 cases per year, while Pierce County averages about 20.

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