New E.P.D. Medical Policy
I suppose this change in medical screening policy the Eureka Police Department made makes sense in light of recent events. You can't help but wonder how effective a medical screening would have been in the Cotton case, him supposedly still being violent all the way to jail. How could the medical folks evaluate him, assuming he's still fighting?
It does cover everyone's ass a bit better, though, but that doesn't necessarily equate with saved lives. Sometimes shit happens, regardless.
In the first case, a young indian girl we were quite familiar with was arrested for drunk in public, or some such. She was supposedly really out of it and fighting the sheriff's deputies tooth and nail. The deputies took her to the hospital for medical screening as was standard procedure for intoxicated minors at the time.
Except a short time after we were called, the deputies show up at the door with the girl telling us she was fighting so hard they couldn't draw blood from her and they didn't know what else to do but bring her to us.
We weren't supposed to admit kids like that without medical screening. What to do? This was graveyard shift and it was just me and one female working.
I said to bring her on in and as they led her in I said to the girl (we'd always gotten along well), "R****a, I hear you've started your own little indian uprising...", or something like that.
She started laughing and said, "Hi, Fred.". She seemed to really settle down once she saw some friendly faces. We ended up taking the girl to a room and had her changed into juvy clothes. She hopped onto the bed to go to sleep. Last thing she said to me as I closed the door was, "Don't forget to wake me up for activities.". She seemed fine to me.
Not quite the end of the problem because that was a breach of procedure. When one of the day shift guys showed up a few hours later he was really uncomfortable with the situation. There wasn't much he could do at the time but he was not happy about skipping the medical screen.
I was never reprimanded for that, which surprised me.
In hindsight I wonder if I could of talked her into going back to the hospital with the deputies. That might well have worked. Didn't think of it at the time, though, and it all turned out ok in the end.
As I recall, this wasn't an in custody transfer, meaning he was brought to The Hall by his parents or the group home people. I can't recall who brought him in but he came in willingly. He had plenty of chances to run.
So, I go through the booking procedure and get all his info. He said he was on some medication but didn't have any with him. I can't recall all the medical questions but everything in that case seemed normal at the time.
He is showered, given juvy clothes and taken to a room.
Maybe an hour or so later we go to let the kids out for activities. Kristy opens this kid's door and finds the guy pretty much unconscious on the floor. We had no idea what had happened. Jim, the senior on shift, and I grab the kid and put him in a car. I drive him to the St. Joseph's Hospital emergency room.
(We decided later on that a better choice would been to call an ambulance but hindsight is almost always better than making decisions on the spot.)
He ends up in the emergency room and I did some back and forth with Jim on the phone while at the hospital. We'd came to the conclusion that he must of overdosed on whatever medication he said he'd been taking. He had none with him so he probably took it all before being admitted.
We told the emergency room staff about his likely overdose and I left to go back to The Hall about the time they were shoving a tube down his throat and pumping charcoal, or some such, into him.
The kid actually survived and lives in Eureka to this day. I've seen his face in the local papers at least a couple times when the cops are looking for him. He lives not far from me.
The drug the kid was taking was Elavil, something for some kind of mental condition, depression or some such. One of the other Hall staff told me he talked to one of the county medical staff about the incident. He said the doctor told him, "If you overdose on elavil, you die".
Kid lucked out, despite going through the proper medical screening, at least proper for back in those days. Shit happens, and I don't know any way we could screen a guy for a drug overdose he took just before he was admitted to juvenile hall.