After police presented doctors with a search warrant, a man’s body was internally searched for drugs against his will in Syracuse, New York. After none were found, he was billed for the procedure.
According to Syracuse.com, Torrence Jackson was pulled over by police for a traffic stop. Officers claimed he had a bag of marijuana on him, and cocaine residue was found in the seat of his car. No cocaine was found on him.
The officers took Jackson to St. Joseph’s Hospital to have doctors perform an internal search for hidden drugs. Reason reports Jackson asked doctors not to do it repeatedly, giving them pause. However, when police showed the medical staff a signed judge's warrant validated by the hospital's attorney, they felt legally compelled to comply with the officers' request.
An X-ray showed no signs of drugs in Jackson’s abdomen. Police wanted an internal search.
The staff sedated Jackson with prescription medication to perform the procedure, again against his will, and searched his body with a colonoscope. The doctors found no drugs.
Jackson said of his time at the hospital, “I’m constantly screaming and yelling. I feel like I’m suffocating. I feel like I’m in a bad situation."
He woke up the next day unaware of what happened. When he left the hospital the following day, there was blood in his underwear, indicating physical trauma.
“I felt tampered with,” Jackson said.
He went to a different hospital’s emergency room the following day where an examination revealed that his colon had been searched. To make matters worse, Jackson was billed $4,595.12 for the procedure. He did not pay it. The hospital threatened to send the bill to collections but later forgave the bill.
As the head emergency room doctor at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Dr. William Paolo was vehemently against the procedure.
According to Paolo, who is also a professor of emergency room ethics at Upstate Medical University, “The physician’s role is merely to aid the patient. If an individual doesn’t have any medical complaint and is purely there for evidentiary collection, and is not an imminent threat to themselves, then the doctor is not there to do anything against the patient’s wishes.”
All drug charges Jackson faced were thrown out, but he did plead guilty to a traffic violation.
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