Albany man fearful of tuberculosis - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany man fearful of tuberculosis

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June 7, 2007

Albany--  An Albany man worries he was exposed to tuberculosis at the Dougherty County Jail.

TB remains in the headlines after an Atlanta lawyer caused an international health scare by traveling to Europe with TB. Andrew Speaker remains in a Colorado hospital after he testified by phone to a Congressional hearing Wednesday.

In Dougherty County, an Army veteran is afraid that after a short time in jail, he went home with a harsher sentence.

Dewey Hall has a long list of medical ailments. "Melanoma cancer, diabetes, diverticulosis," said Hall.

He's now afraid tuberculosis may be added to that list. "I'm not sleeping at all," said Hall.

His lack of sleep is because of his time spent at the Dougherty County Jail. Hall was arrested May 24th for a housing code violation.

"Became very, very ill in the courtroom but was still taken on to the jail," said Hall. Hall was placed in the jail's medical ward.  He says his 24 hours in the ward was spent near 41-year-old Michael Greene who was at the center of a South Georgia TB controversy that ended up in a Terrell County court.

Health officials say Greene refused to follow an order to stay indoors or wear a mask because of TB. Terrell County Sheriff John Bowens refused to transport him to Columbia, South Carolina for treatment. Greene ended up at the Dougherty County Jail for nearly two months. He was eventually transported to South Carolina on June 1st.

"As I lay in my bed, I could see a half an inch or so underneath the door," said Hall. Hall says Greene opened that door to get food and mail.

"I saw him a minimum of three times stick his head outside the door," said Hall. Officials at the Dougherty County Jail say they have strict guidelines for inmates with any airborne illness.  They say Greene had his own bathroom, his own facilities and was in isolation. Hall says that's not enough.

"When you're exposed, you're exposed," said Hall. He worries a peek out of the door is enough.

"I have anxiety and depression that has been exasperated terribly behind this matter," said Hall. He's counting down the days until a test can confirm or alleviate his suspicions.

Hall says his doctor at the Department of Veterans Affairs advised him to wait a couple of months then get a TB test. You generally have to have prolonged, close contact with an infected person in order to contract TB. Jail officials say they're confident that did not happen.

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