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Doctors Find No Drugs in Suspect's Rectum, Bill Him $4K

Syracuse newspaper details strange case
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2018 8:40 AM CST
Updated Dec 23, 2018 9:11 AM CST
   (Getty/seksan mongkhonkhamsao)

(Newser) – In the annals of surprising medical bills, this one stands out. A man in Syracuse received a bill for $4,595.12 after doctors performed a sigmoidoscopy, meaning they inserted an 8-inch scope into his rectum, reports the Syracuse Post-Standard. They did so against his will, on the orders of a judge and police, who were sure that 42-year-old Torrence Jackson had hidden drugs in his anus. The kicker? Physicians at St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center found no drugs. But they billed Jackson anyway for the procedure, which required putting him under an anesthetic. The newspaper pieced together the October 2017 incident based on medical and police records and interviews with more than a dozen people, including doctors and Jackson. The story includes criticism that police overreached in getting a court order to make the hospital conduct the search.

“It’s crazy. It’s over the top, by far,” says criminal attorney Hermann Walz, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Jackson, who has a long criminal record and a history of resisting arrest, was pulled over for a traffic violation. Police say he became belligerent in custody, taunted police by saying he had drugs in his rectum (Jackson denies this), and refused to consent to a search. He also refused to drink any liquid that would speed up a bowel movement. That's when they asked for the sigmoidoscopy, which doctors initially refused because Jackson would not give his consent and an X-ray that had been performed showed nothing in the rectum. The hospital gave in when a judge signed off on the search warrant. Neither the judge nor police officials would comment for the story, and the hospital said it was merely complying with a legal search warrant. The bill was ultimately forgiven. Click to read the full story. (Read more police search stories.)

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