What do you get when you combine a patient with abdominal pain, a “do it because I said so” hospital doctor and staff in an emergency room, the war on drugs and some baton-wielding strong-arm cops?  A dead patient.

This was the perfect storm that claimed the life of Jamie Lynn Russell of Pauls Valley, Oklahoma.  One of the many articles about this incident is here.  She presented to the emergency room in severe abdominal pain and was told to lie flat, a command with which she was unable to comply. Determined to be “combative” by the hospital staff the police were summoned to convince her to lie down.  The emergency room staff dismissed her as her failure to “cooperate” and her demands for pain medicine made her impossible to “treat.”  She was dismissed from the emergency room with the designation “fit to incarcerate.”

The cops took her to jail and charged her with possession of a controlled or dangerous substance due to two (yes, two) pain pills for which she had no prescription.  Two hours later she died in their jail.  Of a ruptured ectopic pregnancy.  She leaves behind a 10 year old son.  As part of their punishment the emergency room staff and cops should be forced to watch re-runs of the Andy Griffith Show and Marcus Welby, MD, I think.

G. Keith Smith, M.D.