TB Patient in California Charged for Not Taking Meds

Sudhin Thanawala, CNS News, May 17, 2012

Armando Rodriguez was warned several times to continue taking his tuberculosis medicine.

At one point, authorities said, he told his case officer he stopped the treatment out of concern for his liver while binging on alcohol and methamphetamine.

So on Tuesday, authorities took the unusual step of arresting Rodriguez and charging him with refusing to comply with a tuberculosis order to be at home at certain times and make appointments to take his medication.


Health officials say Rodriguez, 34, of Stockton has active pulmonary tuberculosis, which can include coughing up blood or phlegm and can spread through the air.

Rodriguez has been noncompliant with his treatment and could become contagious as a result, Ginger Wick, nursing director for San Joaquin County, said in a letter requesting a warrant for Rodriguez’s arrest.

After failing one time to give himself the drugs, Rodriguez told a nurse he had gone on an alcohol binge and taken methamphetamine and didn’t want to hurt his liver, Wick said in her letter.

Rodriguez was arrested Tuesday and is expected to be arraigned Thursday on two misdemeanor counts.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said laws to control the spread of tuberculosis have been in use for more than a century, though regulations differ in each state.

As many as 12,000 new cases of tuberculosis are reported in the country each year, the CDC reported. California recorded 2,317 new cases in 2011, a low since records have been kept.

Nonetheless, officials throughout the nation continue to struggle to stop the spread of tuberculosis, with several drug-resistant strains emerging in recent years.


Each charge against Rodriguez carries a maximum penalty of a year behind bars. In her letter, Wick said Rodriguez would need nine months of treatment.

Armando Rodriguez


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  • Up to my neck in CA

    “As many as 12,000 new cases of tuberculosis are reported in the country each year, the CDC reported. California recorded 2,317 new cases in 2011, a low since records have been kept.”

    Yet the border is still open! I guess that makes me a racist to point out that the new cases are coming from South of the border. So I’m a racist, so what!!

  • Michael C. Scott

    Twenty years ago, I predicted that one day incarceration of active TB patients while they are forced to take their medication would be a widespread necessity.

  • And my grandmother came thru Elliss Island she told of european 1stworlders being sent back if they where sickly.

  • Johnny Reb

    Handcuff him, tie a rat around his neck and drop him off at the border with a note pinned to his shirt saying he ratted out the local drug cartel.  They’ll cure him of whatever is ailing him.

  • IstvanIN

    Since the end of WWII the number of contagious diseases in the US has been declining.  Thanks to post 1980 immigration the diversity of contagious diseases is on the rise again.  I see this as a gain since, as we all know, diversity is strength.

  • Djinn42

    99% of them cross the border with chlamydia, what’s a little TB to a Mexican?

    • ageofknowledge

      TB is no laughing matter. It represents the most serious medical threat to the human population moving forward as antibiotics lose their effectiveness against it. They have completely immune strains of it in India killing people. There’s no cure and unlike aids, it is passed through the air.

  • This scumbag probably worked in a kitchen, hopefully at a taco joint frequented by liberal democrat diversity freaks

  • Xanthippe2

    MOST of those who get TB meds filled don’t show up to get the refills after a while — including those on multi-drug regimens (showing that they probably have some drug resistance). This is a reason more resistance develops.  In my area most of the pts. are Asian (Chinese and Indian).  Calling them does no good as they do not answer or return phone calls.

  • Xanthippe2

    From the full article:
    “I think it’s an error to confine someone in the criminal justice system for a public health crime,” said Lawrence Gostin, a Georgetown University public health law professor…

    Yeah, that sounds about right. 

  • eunometic

    Something involving deportation sounds appropriate. That would ensure high regimen compliance.

  • RockyBass

    I am certain these hard working undocumented tax payers are contributing many times more to our economy than they are costing.

  • ageofknowledge

    “while binging on alcohol and methamphetamine”

  • Michael C. Scott

    Mostly correct, but drug-resistant TB is also relatively common among homeless US citizens, mostly those who are mentally-ill.  They take the medication until they feel better, and then go off before completing the treatment.  When they relapse, they start up again.  Unfortunately, one could not design a better method of producing resistant strains even if one wanted to.  In Third-World countries, abuse of antibiotics is rife, which means most resistant strains, and especially the multidrug-resistant strains originate there.  The problem is probably exacerbated by the great HIV rates in some of these places, which results in many people having compromised or non-existent autoimmune systems.

    • ageofknowledge

      In India, the people buy them over the counter without having to see a doctor and just take them until they feel better. This is where most of the resistant strains are coming from right now. They have strains of TB and other bacterias that are completely immune now to all known antibiotics in India.