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Stockton TB Patient Arrested For Not Getting Treatment

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Armando Rodriguez

Armando Rodriguez (San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office)

CBS SF Bay (con't)

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STOCKTON (CBS SF) – A Stockton man was arrested on Tuesday after not making himself available for tuberculosis treatment, according to the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office.

Armando Rodriguez, 34, was arrested and booked in the San Joaquin County Jail in French Camp for violating TB Control Orders of County Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Furst. The arrest was made by Stockton Police at the request of Public Health Services and the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office.

San Joaquin County has over time arrested and jailed a number of patients and on occasion non-patients for failure to comply with written TB Control Orders of the county health officer. Doing so is a misdemeanor and can be punished by up to one year in the county jail and two years probation.

This case is not believed to have created an issue of exposure as there is no allegation that treatment was lost for a significant period of time, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Rodriguez reportedly first broke an appointment to be home on May 2 and failed to resolve his matter with the Public Health Services by phone calls and attempts to find him through May 9. A warrant was signed on Monday and Stockton Police arrested him Tuesday.

The county has had more than 30 tuberculosis prosecutions since 1984, prosecutor Stephen Taylor said. It also has prosecuted a woman accused of knowingly giving syphilis to her sex partners and refusing treatment.

Taylor said San Joaquin County is more aggressive than other jurisdictions in prosecuting tuberculosis patients to get them to take their medication.

“The criminal cases we’re dealing with generally involve drug users who are harder to treat and manage because the TB medicines conflict with street drugs,” he said. “We have to throw these people in jail and treat them as in-patients. They don’t cooperate as out-patients.”

Rodriguez was discharged in March from San Joaquin General Hospital with four medications for active tuberculosis and agreed to take the drugs under observation by a county health official on weekdays and on his own on weekends, authorities said.

He failed to self-administer the drugs on one day, telling a nurse he had gone on an alcohol binge and taken methamphetamine and didn’t want to hurt his liver, Wick said in her letter.

He allegedly refused to take the drugs on another day and then was not at home on three occasions and missed an appointment.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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