TB patient waives jury, agrees to stay in hospital

By Marilyn Tennissen | Jul 9, 2007

Lemone Yowman

A Port Arthur man with tuberculosis waived a jury hearing set for Monday and agreed to remain in a hospital until his treatment is complete.

Lemone Yowman, 32, was admitted to the State Center for Infectious Disease in San Antonio by court order last month after Port Arthur health officials said he failed to continue treatment for TB.

Yowman had requested that a jury decide if he had to remain in San Antonio, and a hearing was scheduled for July 9 in Judge Bob Wortham's court. Last week Port Arthur city officials received an affidavit from Yowman waiving the jury hearing and agreeing to remain hospitalized.

Texas law entitles patients who are ordered by the court into medical treatment the right to have a jury decide if they must remain hospitalized.

The Port Arthur Health Department began treating Yowman, a former chemical plant worker, in January. Subsequent tests showed that Yowman was negative for active tuberculosis, but treatment was not complete. Yowman subsequently stopped showing up for treatment, and by April his whereabouts were unknown.

Considering him to be a threat to public health, Port Arthur officials in June asked the courts to apprehend Yowman.

Yowman was found and taken into custody, and committed to the San Antonio hospital after a hearing before Judge Wortham on June 15.

Yowman had the legal right to let a jury decide if he had to remain committed, but he waived the right prior to the scheduled July 9 hearing.

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