An Ashland woman sues for damages over how police and medical staff obtained a urine sample that resulted in her conviction for drinking and driving, but also caused the woman a urinary tract infection and a “significant emotional injury”.
Calling the proceedings “painful, humiliating and deeply degrading,” Lise Ann Behringer, 64, filed a lawsuit Tuesday in US District Court in Medford to seek a court order barring Ashland police and hospitals from the system Providence Health Care Agency to force catheters on criminal suspects.
Behringer’s lawsuit alleges that Ashland police went beyond the scope of their search warrant when they asked medical staff to insert a catheter during a drinking and driving investigation in 2019, and that staff at Providence Medford Medical Center beat and assaulted her during the procedure she did not authorize.
“Providence Health Care then bills Ms. Behringer $ 1,100.24 for the barbaric treatment she inflicted on her,” says the lawsuit.
Shortly before 8 p.m. on the evening of October 19, 2019, Ashland Police Officer Justin McCreadie arrested Behringer near the intersection of East Main and Fordyce streets and smelled alcohol on his breath, according to an affidavit filed in Jackson County Circuit Court.
McCreadie said he saw his vehicle “stop in the middle of the road” for an extended period of time and then saw Behringer swerve in its lane leading to the stop. She pleaded guilty to a drinking and driving offense the following July.
Police affidavit says Behringer refused field sobriety tests, blood and urine tests at time of stop, prompting officer to obtain search warrant for samples blood and urine.
Behringer’s lawsuit claims she tried to provide a breath sample at the police station, but was unable due to her disability. An oxygen regulator was visible in the vehicle when stopped, as was a disabled parking sticker on its front window.
The officer “demanded” a urine sample, according to the lawsuit, but Behringer refused to urinate in front of the male officer.
McCreadie obtained a search warrant for Behringer’s blood and urine. The lawsuit, however, says the warrant “did not allow forced catheterization.”
She claims hospital staff – who have yet to be named in the lawsuit beyond “Jane and John Roe’s medical staff” – undressed her below the waist, have nothing did to protect her privacy during the forced urine sample and did nothing to alleviate the pain of a forced tube in her urethra.
According to a statement she made to a judge in her criminal case on February 4, 2020, Behringer claimed that medical staff made five attempts to insert the catheter.
“It was so humiliating, I can’t even explain it to you,” Behringer wrote to the judge.
She expressed remorse for driving under the influence, but also described being released from the hospital after her arrest without her medication, phone or money.
“I feel bad about it, I’m just ashamed and disconnected and want to apologize to my community and the court,” Behringer wrote. “On the other hand, I think it’s fair to learn what the protocol is for arresting people with chronic and progressive illnesses that can cause their death.”
“I had no purse, no money, no phone, no oxygen … I called an Uber and had to break into my house to get my money back in my dresser to pay [the driver]”Behringer wrote.” I was easy prey there, very scared and very sick. “
A spokesperson for Providence and the Ashland city attorney declined to comment on the case.
The lawsuit, however, cited a response from a Providence patient care liaison dated February 20, 2020, who said an internal review found the level of care “appropriate”.
“Our review found that the care was appropriate because helping law enforcement collect evidence is something we are often asked to do,” the liaison said on February 20, 2020.
The Providence representative told Behringer that there was “no written policy or protocol specifically outlining what should be done,” but in such incidents, staff and agents strive to respect the patient’s rights. to privacy.
“One of the ways we do this is to turn our backs on the patient during the process if it’s safe to do so,” Providence told Behringer. “It turns out that’s not always the case.”
In this case, a police officer, a member of staff and a security guard from the hospital were the only ones on the scene.