Warrant issued in Calif. for tuberculosis patient
STOCKTON, Calif. — Prosecutors in Northern California said on Thursday that they obtained an arrest warrant for a tuberculosis patient who is contagious and has refused treatment, putting those around him at risk.
Eduardo Rosas Cruz, a transient, went to the San Joaquin General Hospital's emergency room in March, complaining of a severe cough. Diagnosed with tuberculosis, the 25-year-old was told by medical staff to stay in a Stockton motel room, where a health worker would deliver his medication and watch him take it. But officials say he took off.
County health officials asked prosecutors to seek the warrant, in part, because Rosas Cruz comes from a part of Mexico known for its drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis. County health officials are searching for Rosas Cruz, and his name is in a statewide law enforcement system, San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Stephen Taylor said.
“He could be in a homeless shelter. He could be around the corner from the courthouse,” Taylor said. “We don't know.”
Tuberculosis spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The disease most commonly infects a person's lungs and can cause death.
Health officials in San Joaquin County were not immediately available for comment. In court papers filed in support of the warrant, officials say Rosas Cruz resisted treatment from the start. He also uses crack cocaine and methamphetamine, officials said, estimating that he would need medical care for seven months.
He went to the hospital after feeling shortness of breath for two weeks, had a high fever and had lost considerable weight, in addition to the cough, according to court papers.
Taylor, who prosecutors public health cases, said he seeks arrest warrants like this once or twice each year.
In mid-2012, officials in San Joaquin County arrested Armando Rodriguez, who refused tuberculosis treatment. Taylor said Rodriguez, age 34 at the time, was released Jan. 7, 2013.
Taylor, who did not know the status of Rosas Cruz's residency, said he is not interested in punishing him through the criminal court system. Rather, Taylor said he is using the courts to protect the public's health.
“We're interested in this guy because he broke the orders of the health officer,” Taylor said. “It's all that's left on the shelf.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Man formally charged with murder of Indiana student
- Honus Wagner baseball card sells for $1.32M
- Storm knocks out power to New Orleans airport for hours
- Riot erupts in Baltimore after funeral for man hurt in police custody
- Obamacare contraception ruling thrown out
- Government fluoride standard lowered
- Top Tulsa sheriff’s aide quits under fire
- Iowa avian flu outbreak might be spreading
- Boston bomber’s lawyers plead with jury to spare his life
- Lynch takes office as U.S. Attorney General
- Colorado movie theater shooting trial begins