A woman is in custody after refusing tuberculosis treatment for more than a year

A Washington state woman has been taken into custody for refusing tuberculosis treatment for more than a year.

The situation: The Tacoma woman, identified as V.N., was booked into an isolation room at the Pierce County Jail, but can still choose whether to receive treatment.
* She is not currently facing criminal charges and could be released in 45 days or earlier if determined no longer a threat to public health.

Legal background: A judge first issued a civil arrest warrant for V.N. in March, 14 months after approving a health department request for her voluntary detention.
* Over 17 hearings, health officials persistently requested the court to uphold its order for her involuntary detention.

Tuberculosis context: Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection that can spread through the air and can be fatal without treatment.
* In Pierce County, there are only about 20 active cases per year, and V.N.’s case is the third time in two decades that a court order has been necessary for treatment.

View original article on NPR

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