Woman Arrested in Washington After Rejecting Tuberculosis Medication for a Year

In Washington state, police arrested a woman because they said she had tuberculosis for more than a year and didn’t want to get treatment.

In a statement released on Thursday, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department said that the woman, who was not named, had been taken to the Pierce County Jail. There, she will be kept in a room that is set up for isolation, tests, and treatment. The department thanked the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department and officers for their part in the “necessary intervention.”

The department said, “We hope she will choose to get the life-saving treatment she needs for her tuberculosis.”

The department said months ago that the woman didn’t take the medicine that could save her life and didn’t stay in isolation. It said that for more than a year, officials had worked with the woman’s family and other people in the community to try to get her to go to treatment. When that didn’t work, they turned to their “last option,” which was to have an arrest warrant issued for the woman.

The woman didn’t follow the judge’s order to take medicine or go into isolation, so the judge held her in civil contempt and issued an arrest warrant for her to be taken into custody on or after March 3.

The tweet below verifies the news:

The department said that this was only the third time in the last 20 years that it had to get a court order to hold someone who might be contagious but didn’t want to get care. It said that people with tuberculosis can die if they don’t get care, and they can give the virus to other people without having to.

After the warrant was issued, law officers did not take the woman into custody right away, but they did so on Thursday.

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“When we have trouble with someone who doesn’t want to take their medicine or stay alone, we reach out to their family, friends, and people in their neighborhood to help. We try to get rid of anything that might stop them from getting the care they need,” the statement said.

“If these options don’t work, the Health Department has a duty to the community and the right to go to court to get patients to comply,” the department said.

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