Woman arrested after allegedly stopping TB treatment - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Woman arrested after allegedly stopping TB treatment

Posted: Updated:
OCONEE COUNTY, Ga. -

Police arrested an Oconee County woman who tested positive for tuberculosis. Deputies say she stopped going in for treatment and did not respond to phone calls from nurses.

Authorities are concerned because stopping medication could be dangerous to this woman and also to those who come in contact with her. They said they began a two-week search for her after being contacted by the Department of Health.

"Public health came to us and said, ‘We've got a non-compliant tuberculosis patient,'" said Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry. "She went non-compliant, refused to contact her nurse, and refused to communicate with to public health. Obviously there's a risk to the general public."

Hicks, 53, said she started treatment back in April after she was diagnosed and says she kept taking her medication until recently.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, a bacterium that attacks the lungs causes TB. It can be fatal and also can spread to others if not treated properly.

Doctors say patients usually need medication for six to nine months. They can become sick again if they stop taking it.

"There was no way I could get to my medicine or anything; I've been having to sleep in my van. I've had  nowhere to go, I don't have a driver's license, I can't drive nowhere," Hicks said.

The sheriff says he and another deputy found Hicks Wednesday morning at a relative's home in Jackson County.  

"She was actually sleeping in the van in the backyard and when drove up to the house in Maysville, she took off running in the wood," said Berry. "Her entire family was there at the time we took her into custody, she's obviously had contact with family members. No, I have no idea how many people she's had contact with since we've been looking for."

The Oconee Health Department couldn't comment on the case. Deputies have now charged Hicks with reckless conduct.

Hicks went straight in for medical treatment and evaluation.

The sheriff says deputies will receive their annual TB screening next week.

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