Oklahoma County inmate medical releases at center of hospital lawsuit

by Andrew Knittle Published: May 13, 2013
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‘Pre-existing condition'

Using records filed along with the lawsuit, it was learned that Webb's medical bill totaled more than $500,000.

Court records state that Webb was treated for “intracerebral hemorrhage” and that he stayed at the hospital for about a month.

Mark Myers, a spokesman for the Oklahoma County sheriff's office, confirmed that Webb was released Dec. 10 but denied that Whetsel was dumping the inmate and shirking responsibility.

Myers said Webb has booked into the county jail Nov. 8 with a “pre-existing medical condition ... that did not present a need for medical attention until later while in our custody.”

Myers said Webb was taken first to St. Anthony hospital and apparently was later moved to OU Medical Center.

“The jail was not involved in any decision to relocate Webb to any other medical facility,” he said. “The release was issued by an Oklahoma County district judge so that he could be treated for his medical issues at a hospital.

Myers said the sheriff “does not have the authority to order or issue any O.R. bond releases.”

“All releases from jail, including O.R. bond releases, must be ordered by a judge,” he said.

Myers would not say what Webb's medical condition is, citing federal privacy laws.

The lawsuit filed in April by OU Medical Center against Whetsel is pending. It is not the first time the hospital has sued the sheriff, though.

The hospital took Whetsel to court two other times after Whetsel simply refused to pay medical bills of prisoners in the county's custody.

The previous suits, filed in 2005 and 2010, were settled after Oklahoma County officials agreed to pay more than $8 million to OU Medical Center.

by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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