Milwaukee Woman Jailed For Not Taking Anti-TB Medicine


A Milwaukee woman is serving a six-month jail term for refusing to take anti-tuberculosis medicine, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Judge Clare Fiorenza jailed Ruby Washington, 38, on Wednesday. Fiorenza said she regretted having to incarcerate Washington but had no choice after she repeatedly bolted from treatment over the past four months. “This is no easy thing, but I don’t know what else to do,” Fiorenza said. “Ultimately, as an adult she makes her own decisions. But by not taking her medicine, she is making decisions for others. She is a huge health risk.”

Tuberculosis, which if untreated can be deadly, is making a comeback in the U.S. fueled by public complacency and increasing global travel, said Paul Biedrzycki of Milwaukee’s Health Department. Assistant City Attorney Stuart Mukamal said there has been only one other case in eight years where a judge put a patient in jail – and that lasted only a few days before he was moved to a guarded house. “The real problem in this case is security, not medical,” Mukamal said. “She needs to be in a secure, locked facility. We cannot let this woman out in the general public until treatment is complete, under any circumstances.”


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