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Pregnant Oklahoma Woman Seeks Medical Treatment, Is Jailed Instead, Dies

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #768)
Drug War Issues

A pregnant Oklahoma woman who went to a hospital seeking treatment for extreme pain was instead jailed after police found pain pills on her and died in jail shortly thereafter. Jamie Lynn Russell, 33, becomes the third person to die in US domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year.

Pauls Valley General Hospital (
According to KFOR-TV News Channel 4 in Oklahoma City, Russell went to the hospital in Pauls Valley seeking help for severe abdominal pain. Hospital staff reported that Russell wouldn't cooperate and was in too much pain to even lie down, so they asked a Paul's Valley police officer to assist.

And that's when Russell's medical emergency morphed into a drug bust. The police officer found two prescription pills on her for which she did not have a prescription, so she was arrested and jailed on drug possession charges. She was found unresponsive in her cell less than two hours later.

"There is nothing my staff in the jail could've done differently," Garvin County sheriff Larry Rhodes said. "She had a medical release from the hospital stating that she was fit for incarceration," Rhodes said. "It's very regrettable for the family. My heart and prayers go out to them."

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has cleared the jail staff of any criminal wrongdoing.

The state medical examiner's office later confirmed that Russell died from a ruptured ecoptic pregnancy, where the embryo implants outside the uterus.

Russell's friends and family are pointing the finger at the hospital. "Jamie was seeking help; she was in extreme pain," family friend Kemper Kimberlin told KFOR. "We want to see this come to light. Something's wrong and needs to be fixed."

It may take a civil wrongful death lawsuit to find out exactly what's wrong -- and how a hospital can turn a pain-tormented woman over to police to be jailed instead of treated.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Erik G @ hailm… (not verified)

This story should have never happened. How unnerving it is to think someone could be in enough pain to seek medical help, to only be released to the authorities whose care she passed away under. Shameful.

Tue, 01/22/2013 - 10:18pm Permalink
saynotohypocrisy (not verified)

Hospital staff said she was in too much pain to even lie down. Who with an ounce of compassion cares if someone in that much pain had some illegal pain pills! Damn right this is a murderous crime against humanity. I expect nothing less from Oklahoma, which styles itself the buckle of the cannabis hating, alcohol and gun loving Bible Belt. Everyone in Oklahoma who supports the war on users of the 'wrong' drugs needs to look in the mirror after this one. Oklahomans, your state just finished off this woman in your name, are you going to do anything about it, or do you approve of these Gestapo tactics?

Wed, 01/23/2013 - 2:43am Permalink
Goofstr (not verified)

This not the third death. These are the third and fourth victims. Both the doctor who signed off on this woman, and the police officer who wanted him to sign it, should be put on leave until this investigated. What kind of, 2, pills could be so illegal that a pregnant woman, in pain, is taken to jail from an ER?  Most jails check new inmates for vital signs and history as part of the booking system. The doctor, arresting officer and the booking department should all be hit with negligent homicide charges and the families should file for damages.

Is Oklahoma so backwards that they imprison medical patients without observation? For reasons only they know, the red states seem to be at war with their elderly and sick. They are next door to the definition of government oppression ,Texas. Watch on YouTube how 2 women got full body cavity searches on the side of the road. The cop did not even change gloves between women. This was done because the cop smelled marijuana in their car and they would not tell him the "truth" that he wanted hear.

Both Tx and Ok are at war with their citizen's and making the rest of the country conform to their draconian justice system. We are being tied to these laws because of the fed-law-rules system and Texas is demanding those laws exist. We need to figure out a way that they can continue to abuse their citizens, and the rest of the country can treat theirs right.

Wed, 01/23/2013 - 2:45am Permalink
Scott Watkins (not verified)

How could there be ANY innocence on the police actions? 2 pills??? And she was left unmonitored, to die alone in a cold, disgusting drunk tank. Americans should hang their heads in shame at this, apologies for my frankness, bullshit.

Wed, 01/23/2013 - 5:33am Permalink
Scott Watkins (not verified)

This is an example of yet again the all-knowing Law Enforcers and their ability to make life or death decisions on the spot, and sidestep any blame later. To put a person in a cold, disgusting drunk tank for 2 pills is rediculous; to put a pregnant woman in one after retrieving her from a hospital and not even bothering to monitor her is complete ineptness and negligence. Americans should hang their heads in shame for allowing this bullshit drug war to continue.

Wed, 01/23/2013 - 5:41am Permalink
CJ (not verified)

dude intelligence is 100% right. the officer is a human being first cop second. enough with free passes for cops. i dont give a damn what their job is. so should i not blame the executioner when the executioner pulls the trigger, lets go of the rope, injects the lethal injection? who the hell killed the person then? divine f'n intervention? don't be a moron. hey man dont forget "police" are a British invention of the not too distant past. Our planet earth which yeah i am ashamed to have to share with some people but nevertheless it is our planet that we inhabit here and we got on just fine without police for thousands of years. why do you defend this guy? you must be a cop, married to a cop, friends with a cop, or maybe bullied in school or something and wanna be a cop, maybe you play too many video games? dont smoke enough weed? i have no clue what your problem is. ive been very open about my problems however.


lets see here, im the arresting officer in the hospital. im standing around with a coffee and a doughnut watching the still not-HD T.V hanging in the corner in the over-crowded ER laughing at Wayne Brady when all of a sudden some nurse approaches me saying "we need your help. we need assistance with an uncooperative patient." i full face the dougnut, chug the coffee and run over on a sugar high. Some woman is in such insane amounts of pain that, in two hours, she will die. At the moment shes in so much pain she can't cooperate, she can't even lie down. So I get physical with her enough to discover opiates. Well what are these? In the common man's tongue these are "pain killers" hm this woman seems to be in extraordinary pain too. WHAT THE HELL COULD SOMEONE IN PAIN BE DOING WITH PAIN KILLERS!


Police that put their job over their humanity aren't good enough to be human beings. The one's who see the freezing, starving junkies on the street, knowing they may have a few dirty needles on them maybe a bag or two too, and they come over and offer to buy the junkie dinner THATS A F'N COP. Thats a COP. The cop that sees the woman in so much pain she will die in two hours and decides to knowingly remove her from medical facilities to detain her in jail, what? For a promotion? retain that quota? How could that be rational on any level? I bet this son of a bitch was licking his lips in the front seat as this poor soul howled in pain in handcuffs in the back. Uh oh, now shes dead. What ya gonna do about it? Oh, I know, find more pain pill users. Lock em up. It's their fault somehow. No,, its this cops fault. Dont let anybody fool you. It is his call. Ive seen it a billion times. A couple pills discovered thrown out the window, flushed down the toilet "hey man get it together, okay?" and on your way. But this? This is ridiculous the woman was in the hospital for god's sake. Stop giving pols and cops a free pass. The REASON this DAMN DRUG WAR is STILL going IS BECAUSE THESE ASSBAGS PUT THEIR HUMANITY SECOND.

Wed, 01/23/2013 - 8:05am Permalink
goodwrench (not verified)

In reply to by CJ (not verified)

Excellent comment, CJ.

Wed, 01/23/2013 - 2:13pm Permalink
Opiate Lover (not verified)

In reply to by CJ (not verified)

Well said, CJ, well said.  

Make no mistake this cop will get a free pass.  The worst that will happen is the family will file a civil suit, even if they win (which in no way is certain) it will be the TAXPAYER who foots the bill, not the police.  The worst that will happen is the officer will be put on paid leave. Which basically means he gets a fucking paid vacation for being complicit in this poor woman's death.

Thu, 01/24/2013 - 6:29pm Permalink

This reminds of a story not too long ago, but I can’t find a link to it. Similarly a man goes to an emergency room, he has extreme abdominal pain. The doctor dismisses him as an addict going through withdrawal. But the man has a serious intestinal problem, his guts are rupturing or something like that. He dies in excruciating pain. Can someone help me out with a link?
Wed, 01/23/2013 - 2:22pm Permalink
Jonny R (not verified)

I am so sad to read all these posts, and will never figure out how folks in our justice system can be so cruel and uncaring. This cop should be fired instantly and everyone who assisted in killing this woman should never be allowed to be responsible for helping anyone ever again. And the system wonders why no one will talk to the police. its because they are not heroes. They are self righteous, bullies who, think integrity comes from telling lies and being cruel to their fellow man. all the while collecting a paycheck and pension that is paid for by the people that they abuse and violate rights with. I so far in life have never met a law enforcement officer that was an integral man. Lies and what they defined as truth to get their agenda handled is all they cared about. These heroic officers make me sick with their Bullshit.About helping our society. please people try to be better human beings. I will everyday if you will. aww who am i kidding i try to be a better person everyday anyhow. and i guess i am running out of hope for ever meeting that cop who does not lie and do more harm than good. Its a sad state of affairs for sure. R.I.P

Wed, 01/23/2013 - 11:05pm Permalink
redickulous (not verified)

its sad to see the hospital and police treating a woman like some kind of criminal just because she had a couple of pain pills, those responsible should be stripped of their positions and be tried with negligence if not double homicide. its ignorance like this and that of that bible thumping imbecile who was going on about potheads being pedophiles ( seriously?) that make me sick to my stomach, and ashamed to be an American as well as a human being.

Oklahoma doesn't deserve to be called the hat of Texas, because at least in Texas the good folks here are trying to get 2 oz or less of marijuana rescheduled from a class B misd. to a class C misd. a small step, but remember you have to learn how to walk before you can run.

stupid bible thumping Oklahoma, what a crappy state to live in, a literal hell on earth.(trust me I've been there, theres nothing there and the water tastes like it has cholera in it)

Wed, 01/23/2013 - 11:18pm Permalink
Anonymous rabbit (not verified)

Texas still has a long way to go when it comes to healthcare and crooked cops. So very sad that they let that woman die and her baby. Shame on them and shame on anyone who thinks what happens was in any way shape or form exceptable.
Thu, 01/24/2013 - 12:43pm Permalink
Brinna (not verified)

Stories like this break my heart. I want to see the name Pauls Valley General Hospital spread all over this story. This institution, law enforcement, and our antiquated drug laws, are complicit in this unnecessary, tragic death. Someone who is in so much pain that she couldn't even lie down is arrested for having two pain pills with no prescription? Outrageous!

Thu, 01/24/2013 - 7:27pm Permalink
the virgin terry (not verified)

a couple of days ago i posted a comment to this article and saw that it was published. all total there was something like 40 comments total at the time. now i see that my comment as well as most of the others are gone. wtf?

Sun, 01/27/2013 - 12:45pm Permalink
borden (not verified)

In reply to by the virgin terry (not verified)

Terry, there was some really nasty language in that thread. Not by you, possibly just by the person who initiated it. That sort of thing dampens readership, so we've asked in our commenting guidelines that it be avoided. Deleting the initial comment by necessity involved deleting the responses too, at least the way our current commenting system works. I apologize for not being more on top of the comment moderation at the time it was happening, and that your time and that of others spent in justly responding to the earlier comment got lost.

Sat, 02/02/2013 - 12:48pm Permalink
Flutterby (not verified)

I am so glad when I had a bad pregnancy this didn't happen to me.  I had to go up 3 floors to my doctor and almost passed out on the floor.  I was taken in and checked to make sure it wasn't an ectopic pregnancy.  I say the hospital and the police should all be held accountable for this woman's death.  If she couldn't lay down then the pain was really bad.  Trust me I almost died by a gangrene appendix.  When a body is feeling that much pain you can't not lay nor sit nor stand.  What decent human being wouldn't want to help their friends w/ a few pain pills.  I mean if she had more then 2 then arrest her.  I don't think she will get rich off of the sale of 2 pain pills which  wouldn't do much to 1 person any ways.  Most drug users will have bottles or more then 2 pain pills.  I think as an adult she knew what drugs she was allergic too.  I am sure this is going to happen more if they pass these new healthcare measures.  If most people can't afford healthcare now, then this is going to happen more and more.  Just saying our Government is causing most of this by making it impossible for people to get good healthcare.  Shame on that hospital and the police.  Really makes me hate the doctors even more.  By the way my doctor almost sent me home w/ that gangrene appendix.

Tue, 01/29/2013 - 12:27pm Permalink
Danial Garcia (not verified)

his just just plain sad. I wonder how the Oklahoma doctors can defend themselves from this. They have to be able to rationalize how they could let this happen.
Thu, 03/07/2013 - 1:50am Permalink

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