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Woman with tuberculosis breaks quarantine, seen in crowded casino

By Elizabeth Delaney
|
April 11, 2023

A Tacoma, WA woman who was diagnosed with tuberculosis and Covid and has been issued a court order to self-quarantine and get treatment has reportedly broken with the judgement and been spotted perusing a crowded casino.

Chest pains from a car accident prompted chest x-rays

The woman reportedly arrived in an emergency room in January 2022 because she had been a passenger in vehicle that was involved in a collision.

At the time, the woman expressed concerns to emergency room workers that she was she experiencing chest pains. Several x-rays were taken and allegedly revealed she had progressing TB.

The woman, who has not been identified due to privacy laws protecting patient confidentiality, also allegedly tested positive for Covid at the time, according to the Daily Mail.

Having been deemed a “public health threat,” authorities are taking seriously the alleged refusal to abide by a court order demanding that she self-quarantine and get treatment.

Multiple court orders issued due to patient's refusal to comply with self-quarantine

There were been multiple arrest orders issued in connection to the case after she was reportedly spotted in public multiple times by police since her January diagnosis.

The first order for her arrest was issued in January and there have been more 20 orders since that time, according to the Daily Mail.

In the most recent incident, she was spotted  riding a public bus to a casino where she is said to have spent significant time.

The most recent warrant was issued on March 2 and calls for the woman to be held in the Pierce County Jail for testing and treatment for TB until medical tests show that her condition has been resolved to the point that she isn't a threat to the health, safety and welfare of the public, according to the Daily Mail.

The order was issued by Judge Philip Sorenson, and gave police the authority to take her into custody starting on March 3rd, according to NBC's King 5.

Balancing civil liberties with public welfare

"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," said a statement released in March by the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.

The woman is believed to be, "actively avoiding execution of the warrant," Pierce County Corrections Bureau Chief Patricia Jackson wrote in an April 3 court declaration.

The officer who was assigned to the surveillance of the woman was ordered to stop "until a later date."

Over the past 20 years, this case is the third in which a court order was issued due to someone being contagious with tuberculosis and refusing treatment, according to NBC's King 5.

"In each case like this, we are constantly balancing risk to the public and the civil liberties of the patient," the health department's March statement noted.

The statement went on to indicate that there is a preference that a patient "will choose to comply voluntarily. Seeking to enforce a court order through a civil arrest warrant is always our last resort."

In a typical year, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department encounters approximately 20 cases of active tuberculosis per year.