Archive for Friday, June 27, 2014

Kansas Supreme Court says KU Hospital on hook for $140,000 medical bill

June 27, 2014


— The Kansas University Hospital Authority will have to absorb the $140,000 it cost to treat the injuries of a man who was supposed to be detained on federal immigration issues but was never taken into federal custody, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled Friday.

The case involved Alberto Contreras Gonzalez, who broke his hip in 2006 after leaping out of a fourth-story window of the Wabaunsee County jail facility.

Contreras had originally been arrested in March 2006 by the Kansas Highway Patrol and was awaiting trial in Wabaunsee County on state drug-related charges. While there, Contreras was also interviewed by an agent from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which placed a 48-hour hold on his release, which was supposed to give that agency time "to assume custody of the alien."

But ICE apparently never took him into custody. On March 21, he entered a diversion agreement with the Wabaunsee County prosecutor. Seven days later he was released and transferred to Shawnee County, where he had outstanding warrants. A copy of the ICE document to detain him was sent with him.

Contreras bonded out of Shawnee County on April 5 and was to appear in court in Topeka the next day. That evening, though, he returned to the Wabaunsee County jail to retrieve some personal belongings.

The Supreme Court noted that he was not arrested or taken into custody by Wabaunsee County at that time. But he was let into a room in the jail facility normally used for taking fingerprints and supervised visits with inmates. Contreras was told to wait there while a sheriff's deputy tried to sort out the situation.

Although the room was not locked, the court noted, the door knob turned in the opposite direction of most door knobs. The room also had a security camera, and tape from that camera showed Contreras tried to open the door but couldn't.

Contreras then picked up a chair and broke out a window, which had no bars or other barriers, and jumped out of the fourth-floor room, landing on the ground and breaking his hip.

When officers responded, he was briefly placed in handcuffs, but was released when an ambulance arrived. He was then flown by helicopter to KU Hospital in Kansas City, Kan., for treatment of injuries that included a broken hip. Again, a copy of the ICE detainer was sent with him.

While in the hospital, the court noted, Contreras was not under arrest and no guards were placed outside his room. The only police hold in his file at the time was the ICE detainer.

Wabaunsee County filed no charges for breaking the window and jumping out of the building. "In addition," the court said, "ICE had no interest in Contreras after he was released from the hospital."

KU Hospital tried to bill Wabaunsee County for the cost of the treatment, which Dennis McCullough, the hospital's public relations director, said was about $140,000. But the Supreme Court said under Kansas law, the county is responsible only for medical bills of inmates or people being held in the county's custody and if the person has no other means to pay the bill himself.

The hospital argued that it provided a service to the county by treating Contreras, and the county therefore should pay for that service.

But the court said the service was provided to Contreras, not the county. And because Contreras was not legally in the county's custody at the time of the incident, the county had no obligation to pay.


Bob Smith 3 years, 9 months ago

Whatever became of this illegal alien? Is he still at liberty committing other crimes?

James Howlette 3 years, 9 months ago

Aren't we all? Seriously, name a single person that has never committed any sort of crime. I'm sure every single one of us at some point jaywalked while crossing the street at a minimum. We incarcerate more people per capita than any other country in the world. Plenty of laws out there to break. We're just not good at focusing on the crimes that really matter, and it creates bigger and worse crimes.

Our obsession with immigration paperwork and the "war on drugs" has brought us a very violent and nasty little drug smuggling network that really wouldn't exist without it. It's like prohibition - only with both people and drugs. How fun.

Kevin Elliott 3 years, 9 months ago

Bob, at the end of the day when one takes into account your issues of race, you morals and values (or lack thereof), how you pick and choose facts...

I find you to be no better than this illegal alien criminal when one considers the morals, values and ethics of American citizenship.

While you claim to have not broken the law, you have broken so many rules of civility that honestly i would rather have an illegal alien as a neighbor.

the point of my post is if you are going to claim moral outrage, you should have morals, otherwise you should no be taken seriously.

Bob Smith 3 years, 9 months ago

"... i would rather have an illegal alien as a neighbor..." Be careful what you wish for. The invasion of America in proceeding at a great pace.

Bob Smith 3 years, 9 months ago

"...While you claim to have not broken the law..." Citation, please.

Bob Smith 3 years, 9 months ago

I'm wanted in Idaho for square dancing in a roundhouse.

Sam Crow 3 years, 9 months ago

Elliott, who made you Chief of the morality police?

Sam Crow 3 years, 9 months ago

Your posts seem to have the common themes of saying people are immoral or lying, simply because you disagree with them.

Bob Smith 3 years, 9 months ago

The poor soul is just too delicate to hear plain speaking and not get all inflamed over it.

James Howlette 3 years, 9 months ago

As opposed to just calling them names if you disagree with them, which seems to be a theme you've adopted of late. Tsk tsk.

Leslie Swearingen 3 years, 9 months ago

They should have told him about the strange door knob, then none of this would have happened. I imagine he is somewhere doing something, based on the information in the article.

"The high court ruling issued Friday involved the case of Ector Manuel Savala-Quintero, also known as Alberto Contreras Gonzalez, who broke his hips in a four-story jump from the Wabaunsee County jail in 2006".

Mike Ford 3 years, 9 months ago

Mr. Smith there are many former Kansas tribes in northeast Oklahoma who might consider you an anchor to illegal immigration through your ancestors. Food for thought.

Bob Smith 3 years, 9 months ago

Thanks for dragging your favorite dead horse into the discussion.

Woody LaRue 3 years, 9 months ago

So the $140,000 + legal fees will be passed on to the taxpayers and those who do pay their medical bills.

Bob Smith 3 years, 9 months ago

"…While you claim to have not broken the law…" So we can just make up quotations for other people now?

Leslie Swearingen 3 years, 9 months ago

Well, well, well, I am the only one that stayed on topic, but then I am the only woman in this conversation. So, typical.

Though my Celtic genes I am able to read the crystal ball and I happen to know that Ector Manuel Savala-Quintero is doing very well running stolen luxury vehicles to the Cartel.

My motto is a lemur for every child and a child for every lemur. They need love too.

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