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☆Forcing drugs on a pregnant woman☆ (Edited)

Posted by on Jun. 11, 2014 at 7:43 AM
  • 42 Replies
In regards to the article below, I pose the following questions:

• What do you think about pregnant women being suspected of drug smuggling based solely on the fact that they're pregnant?

• Should the government be able to force drugs or medical procedures on anyone, much less a pregnant women, with no evidence to suggest a crime had been committed?

Please try to refrain from questions that I can't answer, such as "Why was she flying?" I have the same information as all of you.

~~~~~~~~~~~
Woman says forced laxative led to son's premature birth

By Rafael Olmeda, Sun Sentinel
9:16 pm, June 10, 2014

A Palm Beach woman gave birth to her son prematurely after U.S. Customs agents detained her and forced her to take a prescription laxative to prove she wasn't smuggling narcotics into the country, according to a civil lawsuit underway in Miami.

The incident took place in 1997, but for Janneral Denson and her son, Jordan Taylor, the consequences endure.

Denson, 39, of Boynton Beach, is suing Jackson Memorial Hospital, a doctor, and three of the nurses who treated her when she was taken into custody by United States Customs Services after she returned home from a trip to Jamaica, where her husband was making arrangements to join her in the U.S.

Jurors listened to opening statements in the trial Tuesday afternoon.

Attorney Barbara Heyer laid out Denson's case, explaining how a pleasant two-day trip to the island nation turned into a nightmare that continues to plague Denson and her son, now 17.

She said Denson, who was 28 weeks pregnant, arrived at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Feb. 14, 1997, and was questioned by a customs agent who searched her belongings for drugs — and found nothing.

Concerned that drug smugglers were using a pregnant woman to avoid X-ray machines, the agency had Denson, an American citizen by birth, brought to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, where she was kept handcuffed to a bed for two days, Heyer said.

"There was nothing in her but a baby," Heyer said. "But they wanted three clear stool samples before they would let her go."

Denson's pregnancy, her third, was already high-risk, Heyer said. She had a marginal placenta previa, which can cause bleeding and lead to complications late in pregnancy. And officials were telling her to take a laxative called GoLytely, which was not recommended for use by pregnant women unless a doctor determined it was necessary.

"The sole reason for her being in the hospital now was to ingest a prescription bowel cleanser to provide three clean stools," Heyer said. "The evidence will show that the decision of whether or not to prescribe GoLytely was in the authority of the defendants, not Customs."

Under pressure after two days of detention, Denson took the laxative. Afterward, according to her lawsuit, she was released, despite suffering abdominal pain, bloody urine and cramping.

The doctor who treated her, John Bennett, "was shockingly uninformed of the effect of GoLytely on a pregnant woman," Heyer said.

Denson's condition steadily worsened, and her son Jordan was delivered by an emergency C-section on February 28, 1997. He was 3 pounds, 4 ounces at birth and spent the first month of his life in intensive care.

No drugs were ever found, and Denson was never charged with any crime.

"They had a duty to care for her, to do no harm," Heyer said. "They ignored their duties and responsibilities over and over."

Bennett gave up his Drug Enforcement Administration permit to prescribe drugs after agents raided his pain clinic in Hallandale Beach in 2011. He was never charged with any crime.

Few details about the condition of Denson's son were revealed in court Tuesday. Denson's mother, Sharon Glover, testified that Jordan has trouble keeping up with schoolwork, does not participate in sports or other activities, and often seems more comfortable playing with young children than with his peers.

The nurses named in the lawsuit are Ileana Hollant, Marie Prospere and Doreen Simmons.

Denson sued the U.S. Customs Service in federal court and lost. The case against the hospital and doctors first went in front of a jury two years ago, but ended in a mistrial.

Assistant Miami-Dade County Attorney James Allen, who is representing the defendants, told jurors that the hospital, doctors and nurses cannot be held liable for any mistreatment Denson received at the hands of federal agents.

"That she was detained, that she was not allowed to contact her family, is not relevant to this case," Allen said. "Customs decided she needed to be detained. The reasonableness of that decision is not for you to consider, because Customs is not a defendant here."

Allen also said Denson's own medical history showed that the hospital and Bennett were not responsible for Jordan Taylor's premature birth.

Denson, he said, was ignoring her doctors' advice by continuing to have sex with her husband after she was told to be on pelvic rest – a precaution to reduce the possibility of complications from the placenta previa.

Allen said no one from the hospital told Denson to take the powerful laxative — she did it on her own to satisfy the people detaining her.

And he questioned whether GoLytely can cause a premature birth.

"Her premature delivery was caused by her own conduct, completely unrelated to the taking of GoLytely," Allen said.

The trial is scheduled to continue Wednesday before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jerald Bagley.

~~~~~~~~~~
Living in South Florida, I know all too well the problem we have with illegal drugs being brought into this country. The fact that the prescribing physician was later raided by the DEA and gave up his license is astonishing to me, even though Broward County has the biggest pill mill problem in the country. Additionally, forcing a US citizen to take a potentially garmful drug in order to prove her innocence, when the presumption of innocence is a right in this country and there was nothing to indicate illegal activity, is unacceptable.

So, again I ask:

• What do you think about pregnant women being suspected of drug smuggling based solely on the fact that they're pregnant?

• Should the government be able to force drugs or medical procedures on anyone, much less a pregnant women, with no evidence to suggest a crime had been committed?

I'm genuinely curious to hear all of your opinions on this topic.

ETA: I have the same amount of information on this story as all of you - what is in the article is what you get. Any answers that I could offer as to why she was flying, etc, would be supposition on my part, and that's something I try to avoid.

ETA2: I have found court documents all the way through to the Supreme Court, so it would seem that there is some validity to her claims. Here is her statement before the Ways and Means Committee in 1999 that helps to answer some of your questions (for example, she was unaware that she had an unusual pregnancy until this occurrence).

http://waysandmeans.house.gov/legacy/oversite/106cong/5-20-99/5-20dens.htm
by on Jun. 11, 2014 at 7:43 AM
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Replies (1-10):
LauraKW
by "Dude!" on Jun. 11, 2014 at 7:51 AM
She wasn't forced to take it. Coerced maybe, but not forced. A lot of information is missing.
CarolinaDreamin
by Member on Jun. 11, 2014 at 7:58 AM
Coercion and force are synonymous, as evidenced by this definition from dictionary.com:

coerce[ koh-urs ]
verb (used with object) [co·erced, co·erc·ing.]
1. to compel by force, intimidation, or authority, especially without regard for individual desire or volition: They coerced him into signing the document.
2. to bring about through the use of force or other forms of compulsion; exact: to coerce obedience.
3. to dominate or control, especially by exploiting fear, anxiety, etc.: The state is based on successfully coercing the individual.

Quoting LauraKW: She wasn't forced to take it. Coerced maybe, but not forced. A lot of information is missing.
LauraKW
by "Dude!" on Jun. 11, 2014 at 9:04 AM
Coerce and force are not synonymous. Read your definitition again.

Quoting CarolinaDreamin: Coercion and force are synonymous, as evidenced by this definition from dictionary.com:

coerce[ koh-urs ]
verb (used with object) [co·erced, co·erc·ing.]
1. to compel by force, intimidation, or authority, especially without regard for individual desire or volition: They coerced him into signing the document.
2. to bring about through the use of force or other forms of compulsion; exact: to coerce obedience.
3. to dominate or control, especially by exploiting fear, anxiety, etc.: The state is based on successfully coercing the individual.

Quoting LauraKW: She wasn't forced to take it. Coerced maybe, but not forced. A lot of information is missing.
CarolinaDreamin
by Member on Jun. 11, 2014 at 9:07 AM
Are you seriously going to sit here and air about definitions instead of the topic? Find someone else to troll. I'm not interested.

Quoting LauraKW: Coerce and force are not synonymous. Read your definitition again.

Quoting CarolinaDreamin: Coercion and force are synonymous, as evidenced by this definition from dictionary.com:

coerce[ koh-urs ]
verb (used with object) [co·erced, co·erc·ing.]
1. to compel by force, intimidation, or authority, especially without regard for individual desire or volition: They coerced him into signing the document.
2. to bring about through the use of force or other forms of compulsion; exact: to coerce obedience.
3. to dominate or control, especially by exploiting fear, anxiety, etc.: The state is based on successfully coercing the individual.

Quoting LauraKW: She wasn't forced to take it. Coerced maybe, but not forced. A lot of information is missing.
LDavis33
by Bronze Member on Jun. 11, 2014 at 9:48 AM

I hate to say it, because there is more to this article and to this case, but I know a defense lawyer is going to bring this up anyhow.  If she was a high risk pregnancy (marginal placenta previa), why did she feel it was a good idea to travel to Jamaica?  Anyone I've ever know who had a high risk pregnancy was told to avoid travel if possible.   

Now the defense is going to take that information use it against her.

CarolinaDreamin
by Member on Jun. 11, 2014 at 9:55 AM
Could be, and I agree that the article is missing information. I'm going to keep an eye on the subject as the case progresses, though, because it concerns me that pregnant women are being subjected to things like this with no evidence of a crime. Her condition in regards to her level of risk is immaterial, in my opinion. The same thing can happen to any pregnant woman travelling out of the country. That I'd where my concern lies, not so much with the unique details of this particular case.

*note: I had to take my pain medication a little bit ago, and it's starting to kick in. If you need clarification of my comment, please ask. I may not have worded it the best way possible. :)

Quoting LDavis33:

I hate to say it, because there is more to this article and to this case, but I know a defense lawyer is going to bring this up anyhow.  If she was a high risk pregnancy (marginal placenta previa), why did she feel it was a good idea to travel to Jamaica?  Anyone I've ever know who had a high risk pregnancy was told to avoid travel if possible.   

Now the defense is going to take that information use it against her.

LDavis33
by Bronze Member on Jun. 11, 2014 at 10:44 AM

I agree.  Although I do wonder why they just didn't wait for the samples.  I mean, she would have to go eventually.

Quoting CarolinaDreamin: Could be, and I agree that the article is missing information. I'm going to keep an eye on the subject as the case progresses, though, because it concerns me that pregnant women are being subjected to things like this with no evidence of a crime. Her condition in regards to her level of risk is immaterial, in my opinion. The same thing can happen to any pregnant woman travelling out of the country. That I'd where my concern lies, not so much with the unique details of this particular case. *note: I had to take my pain medication a little bit ago, and it's starting to kick in. If you need clarification of my comment, please ask. I may not have worded it the best way possible. :)
Quoting LDavis33:

I hate to say it, because there is more to this article and to this case, but I know a defense lawyer is going to bring this up anyhow.  If she was a high risk pregnancy (marginal placenta previa), why did she feel it was a good idea to travel to Jamaica?  Anyone I've ever know who had a high risk pregnancy was told to avoid travel if possible.   

Now the defense is going to take that information use it against her.


atlmom2
by on Jun. 11, 2014 at 10:48 AM

I agree. 

Quoting LauraKW: She wasn't forced to take it. Coerced maybe, but not forced. A lot of information is missing.


Mommy_of_Riley
by Jes on Jun. 11, 2014 at 11:10 AM
She wasn't forced.

And I'm sorry but why on earth would you travel if you had a high risk pregnancy?
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Mommy_of_Riley
by Jes on Jun. 11, 2014 at 11:12 AM
The more I read the more I'm calling bullcrap.

She was 28 weeks and no laxative on earth will make your cervix ripen to cause premature birth. Sorry hun. Now maybe at 38 weeks it might have helped labor along but that early on laxatives would have no affect on labor.
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