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Augusta tuberculosis patient who refused treatment to be arrested

Tuesday, May 28, 2013 6:34 PM
Last updated 8:07 PM
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An Augusta tuberculosis patient who has refused medical treatment and could be contagious will be taken into custody, a judge ruled Tuesday.

The Richmond County Health Department filed a petition in Richmond County Superior Court earlier this month seeking the court’s help in getting Richard Pearre Jr. to comply with medical treatment.

Pearre was served notice of Tuesday’s hearing on May 17, but he failed to appear. Judge Sheryl B. Jolly heard from the health department staff, who testified that they have tried working with Pearre since January, when his infectious disease was reported, but he stopped cooperating.

Once tests confirmed Pearre had active, infectious TB in January, he began taking medication, testified Yumuriel Whitaker, a registered nurse with the health department. But Pearre, who wasn’t allowed to leave his home until the TB was no longer infectious, became upset and stopped complying because he couldn’t work. Because he had no money to pay his light bill and the service was about to be cut off, the health department paid the bill for him and he started taking his medicine again, she testified.

Mike Allison of the health department testified that Pearre was one of his clients. After it was determined Pearre was no longer a health threat, he returned to work and Allison found it nearly impossible to meet with Pearre after March 13. Pearre kept dodging the home visits, Allison said. The last time Allison talked with Pearre – when he chanced seeing Pearre driving and Allison followed him home – Pearre became hostile, told Allison he wasn’t taking any more medicine and ordered Allison off his property.

Taking all of the medication is crucial, Whitaker testified, because the patient can become infectious again if the drug regimen isn’t completed and develop a strain that is drug resistant.

Pearre has seven more months of treatment, and if he doesn’t resume the drug regimen by Wednesday, he will have to start over, Whitaker said.

Jolly found cause to have Pearre arrested. He will be held pending another court hearing where Jolly could order a commitment of up to two years.

Attorneys Harry Revell and Adam King said after the hearing that the committal would be to a specialized health care facility in Columbia. The health department prefers to have voluntary cooperation because, among other reasons, the county health department would be responsible for paying for the full cost of the committal, Revell said.

Comments (19) Add comment
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CricketSeranade
593
Points
CricketSeranade 05/28/13 - 08:42 pm
8
1
Bad Situation

While I can certainly understand his position, he has bills to pay, I agree with the courts decision. TB can be spread so easily, he is putting the lives of the public in jeopardy. His refusal to continue his treatment is exactly how Superbugs are created. If his TB becomes drug resistant and he continues to expose the public to it, we could be in the middle of an epidemic. Sorry Richard, I'll choose my and my family's health over your rights EVERY TIME.

Fiat_Lux
14994
Points
Fiat_Lux 05/28/13 - 08:43 pm
2
4
What an idiot

and he's an antisocial idiot. He should be in jail.

oldredneckman96
5032
Points
oldredneckman96 05/28/13 - 09:22 pm
8
2
TB
Unpublished

While TB is an infectious deadly disease that must be controlled for the safety of the general public, there are other diseases that are ignored. AIDS comes to mind, we made it a political football while it spread across the country. If it had not been a politically protected issue we could have quarantined those infected and stopped it cold. Now it has spread to men, women and children. Now ask yourself, was it worth the cost to society to protect the “rights” of a few men? Or was this one thing Castro (in Cuba) got right?

Darby
24763
Points
Darby 05/28/13 - 10:18 pm
4
1
"I still think I'm CobaltGeorge,"

.
Maybe you think you are the mad hatter. Maybe you have good reason....

Riverman1
81356
Points
Riverman1 05/29/13 - 06:11 am
8
2
Laws

There are laws to incarcerate those who could spread communicable diseases. OldRedNeck makes a good point about AIDS. Why weren't THOSE people locked up and prevented from spreading that disease? It met the definition of a dangerous communicable disease.

Adam Bomb
357
Points
Adam Bomb 05/29/13 - 06:49 am
1
9
Is the Gestapo back?

Locking someone up because he won't take his medicine even after he was no longer contagious? I guess the Health Department has an axe to grind with this citizen and will get their way. True, they seem to be protecting the public but their methods seem too strong. Hopefully the judge will boot this out of the criminal system and let the Health Department handle what is obviously a civil matter.

Shortcomment
1158
Points
Shortcomment 05/29/13 - 06:55 am
4
0
A man has to live, eat and

A man has to live, eat and pay bills.

To protect the community we should, as citizens, assume basic financial responsibility. The pot of worms question is; How long and under what circumstances?

Riverman1
81356
Points
Riverman1 05/29/13 - 06:58 am
4
1
The Heath Dept. did pay his

The Heath Dept. did pay his light bill. What more could they do?

curly123053
4489
Points
curly123053 05/29/13 - 07:30 am
9
2
TB Is a Public Risk

As someone who has been in healthcare since 1980 there is a big difference between AIDS and TB as far as being infectious. AIDS is a bloodborne disease and the only way to become infected is through contact with an infected person's blood or body fluids.
Meanwhile TB is an airborne disease that can be spread through the air to unsuspecting people through coughs, sneezing, or by simply breathing. Standing in front of or behind someone in a grocery store checkout line who is infected with TB is a serious threat to your health. When we transport someone who displayed possible TB symptoms we were required to place a mask on the patient, and on ourselves too per the policy. If the patient tested positive for TB the ambulance was taken out of service for a thorough cleaning.

belle
303
Points
belle 05/29/13 - 08:34 am
1
0
Thank you curly
Unpublished

That point needed clarification and you did a great job. Not to mention that all the public was made aware of the ways in which Aids is spread so they were empowered to prevent infection. My question is, who does this guy work for? surely they were informed (or are now) that this man is a threat to everyone at their workplace.

MarinerMan
2107
Points
MarinerMan 05/29/13 - 08:42 am
2
0
Summed Up Best
Unpublished

"The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few, or the one". First and foremost, Richard was somewhere that exposed him to the disease - we didn't do it, he did. HE has to take responsibility for his actions. He was "imprisoned" because of HIS actions. And he was only held until he was no longer infectious. BUT, I'm sure it was explained to him that there was a specific regimen that he had to continue. The Health Department paid his light bill. If he can't be an adult about something he did, then lock his butt in jail, until he has completed treatment -- his choice. I'm tired of stupid, angry people.

MarinerMan
2107
Points
MarinerMan 05/29/13 - 08:52 am
0
0
@Adam Bomb
Unpublished

You have got to be kidding me !! He only continues to be non-contagious, as long as he continues the protocol. He stopped complying. We'll move him in with you and YOUR family... Even though I am in Information Systems, I work in a hospital. TB is the single ONE thing that is taken VERY seriously around here. Don't get your annual TB test, and you can find yourself out on the street.

I'm Back Again
307
Points
I'm Back Again 05/29/13 - 09:24 am
0
0
TB continued...
Unpublished

TB continued...

Darby
24763
Points
Darby 05/29/13 - 10:58 am
6
1
"Locking someone up because he won't

take his medicine even after he was no longer contagious?"

.
I don't know. Would you lock someone up for shooting into the playground of an elementary school even after he has sold his rifle and decided to become a hermit?

bigj706
1090
Points
bigj706 05/29/13 - 12:27 pm
4
1
The person with TB can also

The person with TB can also be out of the area for an hour and you could walk in and breathe and still catch it. Very different than AIDS

InChristLove
22452
Points
InChristLove 05/29/13 - 01:24 pm
4
1
"Locking someone up because

"Locking someone up because he won't take his medicine even after he was no longer contagious? "

Someone (Adam Bomb) evidently forgot to read this portion of the article. Pearre can become infectious again since he stopped taking his medication.

Pearre became hostile, told Allison he wasn’t taking any more medicine and ordered Allison off his property.

Taking all of the medication is crucial, Whitaker testified, because the patient can become infectious again if the drug regimen isn’t completed and develop a strain that is drug resistant.

Pearre has seven more months of treatment, and if he doesn’t resume the drug regimen by Wednesday, he will have to start over, Whitaker said.

GiantsAllDay
9279
Points
GiantsAllDay 05/29/13 - 01:32 pm
5
2
And the award for the most

And the award for the most sane comment on this article goes to ICL and Curly. ICL actually read the entire article. Curly pointed out the differences between TB and HIV from an infection standpoint. Those of you who actually want to lock up HIV patients: tsk tsk.

KSL
124790
Points
KSL 05/29/13 - 01:47 pm
2
1
There indeed some here with

There indeed some here with impaired reading comprehension skills.

Riverman1
81356
Points
Riverman1 05/29/13 - 01:49 pm
2
0
I believe the law actually

I believe the law actually applies to sexually transmitted diseases, also. If the person is not treated voluntarily he can be locked up in some type of facility until he is treated.

KSL
124790
Points
KSL 05/29/13 - 01:49 pm
1
1
Probably in a hurry to get

Probably in a hurry to get through it.

Jake
32145
Points
Jake 05/29/13 - 01:57 pm
3
1
and writing.....

.....for that matter.

dstewartsr
20389
Points
dstewartsr 05/29/13 - 02:28 pm
1
2
I had TB

... in the mid 80's. The real deal; coughing up blood --which is a great motivator for giving up smoking-- which went on for over a year; I was repeatedly misdiagnosed because none of the doctors I saw had ever had an actual case.

I got the visit from the Public Health nurse with the "we'll-lock-your-butt-up-if-you-don't-take-your-meds" speech and had to sign something acknowledging as much. Mind, this was pretty much before it was definitively established how AIDS was spread. I asked her if those patients got the same warning. She gave me a look like I'd shot her dog and stomped out.

There is a point to this anecdote: I worked in a small building and commo vans in close proximity with 30 other soldiers, every one of them came up negative as did the 20+ members of my family they tested. Easily spread? Yeah, right.

curly123053
4489
Points
curly123053 05/29/13 - 03:30 pm
5
1
TB Is a Public Risk

Years ago people diagnosed with TB were sent to a sanitarium until they were found to no longer be contagious or they died. With today's technology they have come up with a drugs that you need to strictly take a certain way to keep from becoming contagious. Fortunately with the modern technology you can recieve the TB treatment regimen in the comfort of your home instead of in a sanitarium somewhere. Because TB is a serious threat to the public's safety the health department will rightfully monitor these patients to make sure they stay on their treatment meds. I know it sounds harsh wanting to arrest someone for not taking their meds, but you would not want to be in a checkout line near this guy if he got infected again for not taking his meds properly. This guy is lucky he was not committed to a sanitarium until he completes his treatments.

Dixieman
13861
Points
Dixieman 05/29/13 - 08:48 pm
4
0
Dixieman is back and looking for points

This guy is as bad and as much of a public health menace to all of us as people who do not vaccinate their kids.

jrsc429
337
Points
jrsc429 05/30/13 - 08:02 am
1
0
I know this guy's landlord...

I know this guy's landlord. The landlord regrets having this guy as a tenant.
And Pearre calls the landlord a liar because he says the landlord never gave him a chance to pay his bills since he's been out of work? I know of a trailer that's coming up for rent.

oldredneckman96
5032
Points
oldredneckman96 05/30/13 - 07:14 pm
0
0
TB
Unpublished

On this subject, any thing involving the PUBLIC, it is the same. The rights of the innocent victims must win over the rights of those who harm citizens. A person with an infectious deadly disease (TB), someone who would spread poison in public places (smoking), a person who takes public property without paying his share (bikes in the highway), is in the wrong. That is not big brother government, it is only common sense. Some politicians pandering to the lowest common denominater have written “laws” that say you can do these things, The public has its own rule that says you can’t.

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