TB Patient Jailed for Refusing Medication
California meth user was risking public health
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2012 12:55 AM CDT
Updated May 17, 2012 3:55 AM CDT
Armando Rodriguez wears a protective mask to protect others from his TB.   (AP Photo/San Joaquin County District Attorney's Office)

(Newser) – A tuberculosis patient in California who refused to take medication to stop his condition from becoming contagious has been locked up to protect the public. Armando Rodriguez, 34, missed eight out of nine doses in the space of 47 days. He told health officials who visited his home that he had been on a crystal meth and alcohol bender, and didn't want to further damage his liver with the TB drugs, reports CBS.

Rodriguez has been charged with refusing to comply with a tuberculosis order, which carries a maximum sentence of a year in jail—three months longer than it would take to complete his treatment. It's very rare for somebody to be jailed for refusing to take their medication, although San Joaquin County is more aggressive than most in prosecuting tuberculosis patients. "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," the prosecutor says. "We have to throw these people in jail and treat them as inpatients. They don't cooperate as outpatients."

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Showing 3 of 23 comments
May 17, 2012 6:27 PM CDT
There you go, mandatory treatments. Just like mandatory ultrasounds. Next there'll be mandatory abortions, mandatory limits on children. It's called Freedom, America. What is this Communist China?
May 17, 2012 2:48 PM CDT
Without your "tax dollars" going to public health, no one would have caught this idiot. TB can spread fast--my ex boyfriend got it working as an E.R. physician. Cutting public health spending is a terrible idea that will come back to bite us all in the ass. Perhaps it has been too long since our last non-bloodborne plague--polio.
May 17, 2012 12:45 PM CDT
I don't know if there is any ongoing research for new TB treatments, but he could always take the place of those sweet little monkeys.