DRCNet Interview: Jack Cole, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (8/16/02)

(This interview appeared first in DRCNet's Drug War Chronicle newsletter, previously known as "The Week Online" with DRCNet.) You can also download copies of Cole's presentation in Powerpoint and Word. The police are supposed to be the front-line warriors in the drug war, so when law enforcement figures defect from prohibitionist orthodoxy, as has prominently been the case with former San Jose Police Chief Joseph McNamara and former New Haven Police Chief Nicolas Pastore, their arguments are especially forceful. The emergence of a new group of law enforcement drug war dissidents, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (http://www.leap.cc), thus marks an important crack in the solid wall of police support for the drug war. Formed in March, LEAP brings together a small core of former and current law officers on a mission to end the drug war by bringing their hard-earned street credibility to the reform cause. DRCNet spoke with LEAP executive director Jack Cole this week.
Week Online: How did you go from drug warrior to drug war critic? Jack Cole: I guess you could say I had always been driven by an impulse toward harm reduction, though that wasn't a term I'd even heard of back then. I joined the New Jersey State Police because I couldn't stand those images of police beating civil rights demonstrators, and I wanted to do policing to serve the community. As a cop, I saw the damage that drug abuse was doing to the community, so I joined the state narcotics bureau to fight that terrible scourge. I did not have a sophisticated analysis of prohibition back then, although I very quickly began to understand that our war on drugs" was a cruel, corrupting charade. We would arrest drug users on the street, but claim they were dealers. We would make people become informers for us to avoid their own drug charges. As an undercover cop, I had a career that consisted of becoming people's friend, their closest confidante, then betraying them, over and over again. And I came to see the "war on drugs" as racist. And futile. When Richard Nixon declared the "war on drugs" in 1970, law enforcement had no idea how to stop drug abuse, but it certainly knew how to go after the money. We had seven narcotics officers for the entire state of New Jersey, but after Nixon's anti-drug grants, it shot up to 76. So we arrested people, going from town to town and making buys from everyone we could, then swooping in for mass arrests. But when we arrested a drug dealer, all we did was create a job opening for the next guy. In the meantime, lives are being ruined, families destroyed when drug users are sent to jail, we were virtually creating the next generation of addicts. By 1973, I had concluded that the small amount of harm I prevented by arresting drug users was far outweighed by the harm I was causing to countless people. "Zero tolerance" prohibition was senseless and doomed to failure, I decided. I'm sorry to say that I continued to work narcotics for years after that realization, for reasons that have little to do with courage. WOL: Surely rank and file police officers share this sense of futility you describe. What is it that keeps law enforcement from becoming a force for reform? Cole: Many officers have told me, in classrooms or in private, that they see the uselessness and destructiveness of our drug war. But there are also a number of reasons why many police continue to support it. One reason I stayed at it was the sheer excitement of it. I was always working bigger and bigger cases, always looking for the stimulation and excitement. It was almost addicting and there was very much an element of the thrill of the chase. It's intoxicating to go up against very smart people and beat them at their own game. There is that element. And you have to understand that most police in this country are doing what's called community oriented policing, and most communities want the drug dealing and associated street crime cleaned up. The police are doing what they think the community wants. There is also self-interest. The "war on drugs" is a seemingly endless source of funds for law enforcement. There are jobs at stake. And there is fear. Taking a public stand for ending the drug war could cost you your job in any number of departments in this county and subject you to disapproval from your peers in many more. WOL: That must make it tough to get new recruits? Cole: We recognize that problem and we address it. Members of law enforcement can join our organization anonymously, and we are very careful to ensure that their information is secure. We are also working on an anonymous electronic chat program that would allow police to enter discussions without revealing their identities. We hope to have that up and running soon. WOL: What does LEAP hope to accomplish, and how will you go about doing it? Cole: We want to end prohibition -- WOL: The group takes an explicit stand for ending prohibition? Cole: Look at the name. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. In our mission statement, we write that "the United States' drug policies have failed and that to save lives, lower the rate of addiction and conserve tax dollars, we must end drug prohibition." It's pretty clear. Right now, we are attempting to move in that direction primarily through our speakers' bureau. We have former New York police captain and ReconsiDer member Peter Christ, former Michigan police officer Howard Wooldridge, former Detroit police officer Dan Solano, and Colorado Sheriff Bill Masters and myself. It is a process of educating people, and between us we've given hundreds of speeches. We will continue to educate and continue to try to attract new members from the ranks of law enforcement. We know they're out there. But we also want to restore respect for law enforcement. Our involvement in enforcing drug prohibition has only diminished respect for police. And, ultimately, we want to reduce the harm imposed by prohibition. WOL: What about what happened in Nevada last week? Andy Anderson, the head of the state's largest police union organization, lost his job after he engineered a board vote in favor of marijuana legalization. Cole: That was a real mess. Clearly, we have a ways to go. But the fact that they were ready to endorse that measure shows that law enforcement is not monolithic on this.
Summary: 
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition founder Jack Cole discussed the new organization with DRCNet shortly after their founding.
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Re: Jack Cole Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

As a former law enforcement official, I can not believe that you would support an agenda to legalize drugs. The collateral crime would stress out the CJ system beyound where it is now. Your policy or plan may work in a classroom in academia. It is naive at best, and tantamount to state sanctioned racism. The minority community would take the biggest hit because they lack the resources to successfully combat addiction, and would be ravaged by the collateral crime from scores of new addicts associated with crack cocaine, methamphetamines, and heroin. There is a difference between alcohol and those substances. Only death and jail can cure the heroin addict. Law Enforcement can not do it alone because drugs are a complex social problem. Rehabilitation and Education are the other two prongs in the equation. Without looking at your pedigree, I can only imagine that you are a retired Police Chief, teaching in Cambridge somewhere, with a vote for Obama pin proudly adorned to your chest, and listening to liberal talk radio on your drive home to suburbia.

Mark O'Brien
Haverhill MA
[email protected]

Legalization of Marijuana

First off I have never and will never wear an Obama pin however I have been for the decriminalization and legalization of the herb , that God gave mankind , since 1972 .

I am so touched that some police officers know that harming American citizens for possessing Marijuana is an acute travesty of justice .

I also know that John McCain would have never worked to legalize this benign plant . Kay Bailey Hutchinson , in a reply to me , when I had encouraged her to vote on decriminalization , said she would never vote for decriminalizing Pot or legalizing it , so I will never vote for her

If and when I can afford to make a donation to LEAP , rest assured I will . This makes all the sense in the world .

Now I think about the Whiskey industry that will and probably has gone all out to prevent the legalization of Marijuana . Not to mention all the companies that make and sell beer , wine and every alcoholic beverage that is sold .

I have worked in the field of Mental Health and seen several alcoholics get off alcohol with the use of B Complex and Marijuana .

raggedjean5's picture

Malpractice and Police Brutality

February 14, 2010 I have underwent surgery for removal of a 13cm (sarcoma) from my left chest wall. This also required removal of 4 left ribs, part of my left lung, part of my sternum and reconstruction of my diaphragm. I have been a patient of Dr. Greg Hill at North Jefferson Internal Medicine in Fultondale, AL for more than one year. I have never had a problem with Dr. Hill or my medications until Monday, February 7, 2010. I take Percocet 5mg 2 tablets three times a day to give me some relief of the pain and to help me be ambulatory. On Monday 2/7/2010, I called Dr. Hill's office to see if I could get my prescription for Percocet a few days early because I wanted to go and visit my daughter. I was told on that day that Dr. Hill was out of the country and that Dr. Larry Wade who was supposed to be seeing patients was at home sick. I was told to call back on Tuesday. I called on Tuesday and was told by a woman named Theresa that Dr. Wade was still at home sick and there was nothing they could do about my medication. This woman was very rude and non-caring. I kept thinking about what she said and how she said it and decided to call the on-call physician to find out what to do. The answering service told me Dr. Wade was on-call. I told the answering service I needed to talk to Dr. Wade (what happened to him being sick?). When he spoke to me on the phone, he was very rude and told me I would just have to call the office on Wednesday. He said he did not know anyone who took as many Percocet as I did and that he would have to review my chart on Wednesday morning and would let me know then if he would give me my medication or not. He also asked me why I had called the answering service because there was nothing he could do about it on the telephone. I told him I contacted the answering service because of how rude Theresa was on the telephone and she was saying he was not going to write my prescription. On Wednesday morning, no one called me. I called the office and was told Dr. Wade would give me a prescription for 12 Percocet. Theresa said I would just have to stretch those 12 Percocet until Monday (February 14th) at which time Dr. Hill would be back in town and could take care of this mess. I told her I did not know what "mess" she was talking about, I was just trying to get my prescription, now because there are no doctors there on Thursday afternoon and no doctors there all day on Friday. At this point, my visiting my daughter was already ruined and I had to stay at home. My husband took me to Dr. Wade's office to get the prescription. We were hoping we could talk to Dr. Wade or find a way to talk to Dr. Hill. We went inside the office and I told the receptionist (Loretta) that we wanted to talk to Dr. Wade or find a way to talk to Dr. Hill. After that, it was like everyone went insane. Loretta motioned for me to come to the hallway and I just was joking and asked "Does it take a knife or gun to get your medication?). I turned around and my husband was behind me and we started walking back to the waiting area. Right when we got to the waiting area, Dr. Wade came bursting out a door and started screaming something (I just don't remember). I just started walking toward the door to go outside and when I turned around to see if my husband was behind me, I saw Dr. Wade running back to the door he came out of and my husband was trying to talk to Dr. Wade and he followed him when he went inside the door. I just kept standing at the door leading outside waiting for my husband. He came out the door and handed me a prescription which was for my monthly supply of Percocet. We both turned and went out the door and got into the truck to come home. When we got less than 2 miles from the clinic, I noticed blue lights behind us. I told my husband and he said that they had another vehicle pulled over that we had just passed. A couple minutes later, There were several police cars behind us and my husband was trying to pull off the road. When we stopped, a police officer started screaming "show your hands" which we did and then another police officer pulled my husband out of the truck and made him lay on the ground. A female officer came to my side of the truck, opened the door and made me get out. The first thing she said was "Where is the prescription?" I told her it was in my purse in the truck. She then started asking me "Where is the gun?" I told her I did not have a gun and had not seen a gun. They stood me and my husband at the back of the truck. There was so much screaming going on, I never did really understand what they were saying. There was one African-American police officer who had his face right in my husband's face like a drill seargent screaming about why we did not stop when their cars were behind us and that he was about to ram into our truck. All these police officers were with the Fultondale Police Department. They handcuffed my husband and put him in a police car. I was not handcuffed but the female police officer put me in her car. They started talking about getting someone to tow our truck. They took us to the parking lot of the clinic. Dr. Wade came storming out the door with office staff, nurses, etc. and he started screaming that we had been discharged from that clinic and had better not come there ever again. The female police officer had given the prescription to Dr. Wade and she had a photocopy of it with “void” written on it. We were then put back into the police cars and transported to the Fultondale Police Department. I was sat in a chair. I heard them say they were calling an ambulance for my husband. (My husband is also a patient of Dr. Hill and he has been his physician for about three years and had his appendix removed in 4/2010 and had a heart attack in 7/2010 which resulted in placement of a stent in one of his main coronary arteries and Dr. Hill has been his physician through all of this). He has not been well since placement of the stent and has had to go to the Emergency Room at St. Vincent's Hospital in Birmingham, AL multiple times for chest pain. The last time he went to the emergency room, he was having chest pains and shortness of breath. Dr. Wade was working in the ER and released him and said there was nothing he could do for my husband. Less than 36 hours later, my son and I took him to the ER at Baptist Medical Center-Princeton in Birmingham, AL to see if they could help him. He was admitted for five days and underwent treatment for his shortness of breath and chest pain. While he was in the hospital, I had to go to Dr. Hill's office to pick-up my prescription for Percocet. When I got to their office, I was asked to come into one of the rooms and was told I needed to pay off the balance I owed them before I could get my prescription. I owed them approximately $500.00 which were charges incurred during a 7 day hospital stay in 11/2009 when I had a staph infection. I only had $60.00 which was supposed to last until the end of the week under normal situations and with ny husband being in the hospital, it was not a normal situation since I had to purchase gas to go to the hospital. I also told her that my husband was in another hospital due to the way Dr. Wade had treated him in the St. Vincent's ER and that if something bad happened to him due to Dr. Wade's inability to treat him, Dr. Wade would be held liable. I gave my debit card to her and she took $50.00 off my card, handed me my prescription and I left with $10.00 and went home and tried to figure out how I was going to be able to go back and forth to the hospital to see my husband. North Jefferson Internal Medicine of Fultondale did not care about my husband and did not even ask how he was doing. They did not care about me and the fact that I had no money, all they wanted was $50.00. Since that time, I have paid them and my balance now is around $250.00. Dr. Wade was standing less than 6 feet away from me when I made the comment about him being liable, but he just stood there looking at some papers. I am sorry I sort of strayed from the main topic, but I feel it is relevant to what has happened. While sitting in the chair at the police department, the female officer and another woman started going through my purse. The other woman commented that I must be a table top dancer since I had alot of $1.00 bills. I am a cancer patient with a mutilated body, for some reason I accumulate $1.00 bills. They turned my purse upside down and poured the contents onto the floor. The female officer looked at me and said I needed to clean out my purse “when I had time. She put some things back in my purse and then used a broom and dust pan to put the smaller things back into my purse. Anything that she swept up went in my purse (my items, dirt. garbage, etc).They took my jacket and shoes and put me in a cell. I was in that cell for over 7 hours. I thought I was being held there for such a long time because they had taken my husband to the hospital. The cell was extremely cold and I had a short sleeve shirt on which was under my jacket they took away from me. I had two pairs of socks on, so I took one pair off my feet and put them on my arms. It was still cold and I was in extreme pain. I banged on the window and no one came, so I screamed. The female police officer opened a door and told me I had better sit down and if I screamed again, I would get something I would not like. I tried stuffing toilet paper in the socks on my feet and anywhere else I could just trying to get warm. The whole time I was there, I saw no one except for the incident with the female officer when I screamed. I was not offered a drink of water and there were no mats on the bunk beds. At shift change, another police officer finally came and got me and said I had to have my fingerprints done and then I would be able to find a bondsman. My husband was sitting in a cell that we walked past. When he got out of his cell, I asked what had happened while he was at the hospital. He said they did not take him to the hospital. He said they cancelled the call for an ambulance and that he had also been in a cell with no contact with anyone. Anyway, we had to bond out of jail, recover the truck and come home. When we got home, my husband continued having chest pains and my son (Zach-age 22) took him to the ER at Princeton. They said he had heart failure and he was in the hospital 3 days for them to find medicine to stimulate his heart. I was also hospitalized for a couple days due to an abnormal EKG. We received a certified letter from North Jefferson Internal Medicine that says “if you require medical care within the next 30 days we will be available, but in no event longer than 30 days from the date of this notice”. I called to speak with Dr. Hill and my call was transferred to Theresa who said no phone calls and no medical care would be offered by that office unless it is an emergency. I tried reading the letter to her but she just started screaming that we were no longer patients there. My son (Zach) had called to speak to Dr. Hill earlier in the day and Dr. Hill called him around 7:00 P.M. today. He told Zach that the letter had not been typed correctly and that another letter was being typed and we would receive it certified mail and that we were no longer his patients and were not eligible for medical care through North Jefferson Internal Medicine. WE NEED HELP. WE BOTH HAVE MAJOR MEDICAL PROBLEMS AND IT SEEMS LIKE THIS CLINIC CAN MAKE RULES AND CHANGE THEM TO FIT THEIR ATTITUDE. WE ARE NOT DRUG ADDICTS AND OUR TREATMENT THROUGH DR. HILL HAS NOT BEEN A SHORT-TERM PROCESS. PLEASE HELP!!!! Sincerely. Karla Hogan 379 White Oak Trail P.O. Box 223 Warrior, AL 35180 Phone: (205) 493-0255 [email protected]

raggedjean5's picture

Update on Charges Against Karla H. Hogam and David Randall Hogan

[email protected]

We appeared for our court date in Fultondale Municipal Court (Alabama) on March 9, 2011. The case has been continued because we would not plead guilty. We are not guilty of doing anything illegal. Our next court date will be on Wednesday, April 13, 2011. My husband is being charged with “Menacing” and I am being charged with “Harrassment (Language,Guesture)”. I don’t know how they came up with the charges against because the only words I said were to speak to Dr. Wade and I never touched anyone and did not make any harrassing movements with my hands. 

raggedjean5's picture

Update on Charges Against Karla H. Hogam and David Randall Hogan

If anything positive comes out of these actions from North Jefferson Internal Medicine, it would be the fact that their office staff and doctors are trained to treat their patients in a humane manner and have guidelines on how to handle patient needs when one or more of the doctors are not in the office. They also need someone in their office who is private and confidential in their actions with the patients and does not take upon themself to try and control treatment of patients and in doing this have the whole office staff (including doctors) having derogatory attitudes against patients. When Dr. Wade sent my husband home from the ER in 11/2010 saying he could not do anything for him, he was admitted to Baptist Medical Center-Princeton on 11/13/2010. I do not know what happened at that point that made medical treatment of my husband and myself at that clinic undesireable to them. He was discharged from BMC Princeton and told to see his primary care physician (Dr. Greg Hill) for follow-up within one week. I contacted their office and was told that Dr. Hill had no openings on his schedule to see him within one week. He had a general follow-up appointment with Dr. Hill on 12/22/2010. Loretta told me to keep checking back to see if something sooner became available. That appointment was almost a month after his discharge. I told her that he needed to be seen sooner because he was having alot of other problems with the chest pain (disorientation, staying in bed and only getting up to go to the restroom or kitchen, talking and moving his arms and legs while sleeping, forgetfullness, etc.). She told me she would give Dr. Hill the message. I checked back with the office multiple times trying to get him an appointment before 12/22/2010. I was always told there was nothing available. With all this happening, I had to pick-up one of his prescriptions from there office around the second week in December and when they gave me the prescription, Loretta told me that Dr. Hill would not write any other prescriptions for my husband before he was seen in the office again. This was very confusing since I had been talking to them every week to get him an appointment before 12/22/2010 and I am getting this prescription from them right before his regular check-up appointment. There are alot of things that happened that I have thought about over and over again and still cannot understand why things were done or said to us in the manner that they were. David finally saw Dr. Hill on 12/22/2010. I told Dr. Hill during that office visit about the mental abnormalities and all the things he did while he was sleeping. Dr. Hill said he would have the nurse schedule a sleep study and possible further testing after the sleep study. When the nurse gave David his papers, she said they would call us about the sleep study. This was three days before Christmas. David told her to just schedule it after 1/1/2011. When this incident happened on 2/9/2011, no one had called us about a sleep study or any other tests. David does not usually go places with me but I was upset about the way I had been treated on the telephone by Theresa and Dr. Wade including the fact that I did not get to visit my daughter as planned and David said he would go and try to talk to Dr. Wade to see what was going on. I hate to point the finger at one person, but I know for a fact that Theresa tells patients what she wants to tell them. I know this because I had previously called and left a message for Dr. Hill asking if the dosage on one of my medications could be increased. Theresa returned my phone call and said Dr. Hill had said there was no way the dosage could be increased. About a month later, I went for my regular check-up appointment with Dr. Hill and mentioned calling about increasing the medication and Theresa telling me he would not do it. He looked at me and said he saw no problem with increasing the dosage and gave me a new prescription. My husband and I are both disabled. Our son, Zach, is disabled due to Crohn’s Disease and we have been waiting for three years for SSI benefits to be approved to help with his medical needs and as of right now, they still have not beeen approved. We have to find clinics that will see him without health insurance and his medications are expensive and we are constantly struggling to purchase them. My husband is a former police officer and I formerly worked for a cancer surgeon at UAB. My husband and I both began working and paying taxes when we were 12 years old and as most people do, we were both working toward the goal of having our three children grown and retiring to be able to enjoy life. We did not make it that far but it is not because we just wanted to quit working and live off the rest of the world. We lost our home of 30 years to foreclosure in 11/2007. We are renting a home in Hayden, AL where the heat does not work, you are only warm if you are in bed under the electric blanket. If you are up moving around, you have to wear two pairs of socks, your shoes and your jacket. The kitchen sink drains outside beside the back door and it smells horrible during warm weather and when you do laundry, the washing machine has a pipe coming out the front of the house and when the washing machine drains, it comes pouring out of the pipe into the front yard. It has a dirt driveway that has deep gulleys in it from the rain and it has damaged our vehicles. We don’t have much of an income so we are doing the best we can to survive. There are probably three or more days a week when someone could watch this house and think it is unoccupied because unless it is for food, medicine or doctor visits. I guess the main thing I am trying to say is “WE ARE BASICALLY INSIGNIFICANT” in the eyes of most of the world. I wish someone would tell us why we are being treated in the manner that Theresa, Dr. Wade and the Fultondale Police Officers treated us on 2/9/2011. It would be nice to receive an apology from Theresa and Dr. Wade for their actions and to also receive an apology from the Fultondale Police Officers for their treatment during the time they pulled us over and through the next seven hours where we were put in jail cells to freeze and be miserable with no one checking on us and especially for cancelling the call for an ambulance to take my husband to the hospital. When he was admitted to BMC-Princeton later that night, he was told that his heart muscle had been damaged during the heart attack and that his heart was functioning at only 30% because of the muscle damage. Dr. Hill did send us a revised letter. At least he was humane enough to include a prescription for a thirty day supply of my medicine and a thirty day supply of my husband’s medicine to allow us time to find another physician. I wish he would also help us find another physician since primary care physicians for people with our health issues are difficult to find. xc: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 200 Independence Avenue S.W. Washington, D.C. 20201 Alabama State Board of Medical Examiners 848 Washington Avenue, P.O. Box 946 Montgomery, AL 36101-0946 Greg Hill, M.D. - North Jefferson Internal Medicine 2619 Decatur Hwy. Fultondale, AL 35068-1723 Mayor Jim Lowery - City of Fultondale 1210 Walker Chapel Road, P.O. Box 699 Fultondale, AL 35068 Byron M. Pigg, Chief of Police Fultondale Police Department 1210 Walker Chapel Road, P.O. Box 699 Fultondale, AL 35068 P.S. We appeared for our court date in Fultondale Municipal Court (Alabama) on March 9, 2011. The case has been continued because we would not plead guilty. We are not guilty of doing anything illegal. Our next court date will be on Wednesday, April 13, 2011. My husband is being charged with “Menacing” and I am being charged with “Harrassment (Language,Guesture)”. I don’t know how they came up with the charges against because the only words I said were to speak to Dr. Wade and I never touched anyone and did not make any harrassing movements with my hands.

raggedjean5's picture

Update on Charges Against Karla H. Hogam and David Randall Hogan

P.S. If anything positive comes out of these actions from North Jefferson Internal Medicine, it would be the fact that their office staff and doctors are trained to treat their patients in a humane manner and have guidelines on how to handle patient needs when one or more of the doctors are not in the office.  They also need someone in their office who is private and confidential in their actions with the patients and does not take upon themself to try and control treatment of patients and in doing this have the whole office staff (including doctors) having derogatory attitudes against patients.  When Dr. Wade sent my husband home from the ER in 11/2010 saying he could not do anything for him, he was admitted to Baptist Medical Center-Princeton on 11/13/2010. I do not know what happened at that point that made medical treatment of my husband and myself at that clinic undesireable to them. He was discharged from BMC Princeton and told to see his primary care physician (Dr. Greg Hill) for follow-up within one week.  I contacted their office and was told that Dr. Hill had no openings on his schedule to see him within one week.  He had a general follow-up appointment with Dr. Hill on 12/22/2010. Loretta told me to keep checking back to see if something sooner became available.  That appointment was almost a month after his discharge. I told her that he needed to be seen sooner because he was having alot of other problems with the chest pain (disorientation, staying in bed and only getting up to go to the restroom or kitchen, talking and moving his arms and legs while sleeping, forgetfullness, etc.). She told me she would give Dr. Hill the message. I checked back with the office multiple times trying to get him an appointment before 12/22/2010. I was always told there was nothing available. With all this happening, I had to pick-up one of his prescriptions from there office around the second week in December and when they gave me the prescription, Loretta told me that Dr. Hill would not write any other prescriptions for my husband before he was seen in the office again. This was very confusing since I had been talking to them every week to get him an appointment before 12/22/2010 and I am getting this prescription from them right before his regular check-up appointment. There are alot of things that happened that I have thought about over and over again and still cannot understand why things were done or said to us in the manner that they were. David finally saw Dr. Hill on 12/22/2010. I told Dr. Hill during that office visit about the mental abnormalities and all the things he did while he was sleeping.  Dr. Hill said he would have the nurse schedule a sleep study and possible further testing after the sleep study. When the nurse gave David his papers, she said they would call us about the sleep study. This was three days before Christmas. David told her to just schedule it after 1/1/2011.  When this incident happened on 2/9/2011, no one had called us about a sleep study or any other tests. David does not usually go places with me but I was upset about the way I had been treated on the telephone by Theresa and Dr. Wade including the fact that I did not get to visit my daughter as planned and David said he would go and try to talk to Dr. Wade to see what was going on. I hate to point the finger at one person, but I know for a fact that Theresa tells patients what she wants to tell them. I know this because I had previously called and left a message for Dr. Hill asking if the dosage on one of my medications could be increased.  Theresa returned my phone call and said Dr. Hill had said there was no way the dosage could be increased. About a month later, I went for my regular check-up appointment with Dr. Hill and mentioned calling about increasing the medication and Theresa telling me he would not do it. He looked at me and said he saw no problem with increasing the dosage and gave me a new prescription.


 

 


 

My husband and I are both disabled. Our son, Zach, is disabled due to Crohn’s Disease and we have been waiting for three years for SSI benefits to be approved to help with his medical needs and as of right now, they still have not beeen approved. We have to find clinics that will see him without health insurance and his medications are expensive and we are constantly struggling to purchase them. My husband is a former police officer and I formerly worked for a cancer surgeon at UAB. My husband and I both began working and paying taxes when we were 12 years old and as most people do, we were both working toward the goal of having our three children grown and retiring to be able to  enjoy life. We did not make it that far but it is not because we just wanted to quit working and live off the rest of the world. We lost our home of 30 years to foreclosure in 11/2007. We are renting a home in Hayden, AL where the heat does not work, you are only warm if you are in bed under the electric blanket. If you are up moving around, you have to wear two pairs of socks, your shoes and your jacket. The kitchen sink drains outside beside the back door and it smells horrible during warm weather and when you do laundry, the washing machine has a pipe coming out the front of the house and when the washing machine drains, it comes pouring out of the pipe into the front yard. It has a dirt driveway that has deep gulleys in it from the rain and it has damaged our vehicles. We don’t have much of an income so we are doing the best we can to survive. There are probably three or more days a week when someone could watch this house and think it is unoccupied because unless it is for food, medicine or doctor visits. I guess the main thing I am trying to say is “WE ARE BASICALLY INSIGNIFICANT” in the eyes of most of the world. I wish someone would tell us why we are being treated in the manner that Theresa, Dr. Wade and the Fultondale Police Officers treated us on 2/9/2011.


 

 


 

It would be nice to receive an apology from Theresa and Dr. Wade for their actions and to also receive an apology from the Fultondale Police Officers for their treatment during the time they pulled us over and through the next seven hours where we were put in jail cells to freeze and be miserable with no one checking on us and especially for cancelling the call for an ambulance to take my husband to the hospital. When he was admitted to BMC-Princeton later that night, he was told that his heart muscle had been damaged during the heart attack and that his heart was functioning at only 30% because of the muscle damage.


 

 


 

Dr. Hill did send us a revised letter. At least he was humane enough to include a prescription for a thirty day supply of my medicine and a thirty day supply of my husband’s medicine to allow us time to find another physician. I wish he would also help us find another physician since primary care physicians for people with our health issues are difficult to find.


 

 


 

xc: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


 

200 Independence Avenue S.W.


 

Washington, D.C.  20201


 

 


 

Alabama State Board of Medical Examiners


 

848 Washington Avenue, P.O. Box 946


 

Montgomery, AL  36101-0946


 

 


 

Greg Hill, M.D. - North Jefferson Internal Medicine


 

2619 Decatur Hwy.


 

Fultondale, AL  35068-1723


 

 


 

Mayor Jim Lowery - City of Fultondale


 

1210 Walker Chapel Road, P.O. Box 699


 

Fultondale, AL  35068


 

 


 

Byron M. Pigg, Chief of Police


 

Fultondale Police Department


 

1210 Walker Chapel Road, P.O. Box 699


 

Fultondale, AL  35068


 

P.S. We appeared for our court date in Fultondale Municipal Court (Alabama) on March 9, 2011. The case has been continued because we would not plead guilty. We are not guilty of doing anything illegal. Our next court date will be on Wednesday, April 13, 2011. My husband is being charged with “Menacing” and I am being charged with “Harrassment (Language,Guesture)”. I don’t know how they came up with the charges against because the only words I said were to speak to Dr. Wade and I never touched anyone and did not make any harrassing movements with my hands. 

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