PASCO — A Pasco woman accused of killing her mother last month is being properly cared for in the Franklin County jail despite not getting medication for her migraines, a judge ruled.
Tashia Stuart, 38, was in Franklin County Superior Court on Monday for a hearing to determine if there has been any inappropriate treatment because of her medical conditions.
Defense attorneys Bob Thompson and Matt Rutt previously claimed Stuart was being treated "in a horrible manner" and practically going through "torture" because she was not getting proper medications in jail.
Stuart has been locked up since March 3 after Pasco police arrested her for allegedly shooting her mother, Judy Hebert.
Stuart is charged with first-degree murder with a firearm enhancement. Her trial is May 18.
On Monday, Judge Cameron Mitchell heard from a registered nurse who is a contract medical staff member in the jail and is treating Stuart. The nurse's name is not used in this story because of safety concerns.
The jail nurses work under the supervision of a doctor who has a contract to provide care for inmates.
Prosecutor Shawn Sant had the nurse explain how inmates are examined and what procedures medical staff use to obtain an inmate's medical history and determine what, if any, medications are necessary.
"When Tashia first came in, she wasn't very clear -- couldn't relay much of her medical information to me," the nurse said. "I couldn't get whole sentences."
Stuart's doctors also were in another state, but the nurse said she was able to get a list of the prescriptions Stuart had filled in the past at Walgreens.
There were 19 prescriptions on the list from Walgreens, and she had last filled a prescription Feb. 18 for pain medication to treat migraines.
Stuart also has a prescription to treat asthma that was last filled in October, the nurse said.
Thompson questioned whether Stuart was receiving any of the same medication in jail that she had valid prescriptions for or a substitute medication.
The nurse said no.
"If she's not getting a medication, there's a medical reason why she's not getting them," the nurse said.
She was limited in how much she could explain about Stuart's medical condition because of federal privacy laws.
The nurse said Stuart had not been taking the asthma medication as prescribed, so she needed to be re-evaluated to see if it needed to be reinstated.
Stuart also is "allergic to everything," which could cause a problem, the nurse said.
Thompson asked why Stuart is not getting her pain medication for migraines, but the nurse said Stuart "hasn't presented with a migraine to us yet."
However, if she does get a migraine, the nurse wasn't clear what type of medication Stuart could take because of her allergies.
Stuart can take narcotics, but the nurse said, "It puts the inmates at risk if their peers know they are getting a drug that has street value."
The nurse said Stuart is being treated with dietary restrictions and that seems to be alleviating the abdominal pain and headaches that Stuart had been complaining about.
Stuart is on a 2,000-calorie jail diet and has been restricted from purchasing snacks in the jail commissary -- candy, coffee and other junk food can be migraine triggers, she said.
"She's doing very well. ... Right now what we're doing seems to be working for her," the nurse said.
In the 32 days she has been in jail, Stuart has gained 9.4 pounds and weighs more now than at any time in the past, based on her medical records, the nurse said.
"It's not a guess. I'm a registered nurse," she said, taking exception to Thompson's questioning her decisions. "I've gone to school and have done the necessary training to make decisions to take care of my patients -- and that's what Tashia is, one of my patients."
Thompson told Judge Mitchell he plans to have Stuart submit an affidavit about the migraines she continues to have while in jail.
Defense attorneys were trying to get Stuart hospitalized for treatment or released on her own recognizance so she can regulate her medications at home.
They had said the court could order the jail to fill the prescribed medications or could consider a finding of prosecutorial misconduct because the jail is an agent of the state and is violating her rights behind bars.
Mitchell, however, found that "nothing inappropriate has been done" to Stuart while she has been in the care of the jail medical staff.
-- Paula Horton: 509-582-1556; firstname.lastname@example.org