OU Medical Center Sues Sheriff John Whetsel Over Inmates' Medical Costs

Monday, April 29th 2013, 8:03 pm
By: Karl Torp

The Oklahoma County Sheriff is being sued again. OU Medical Center claims Sheriff John Whetsel dumped the healthcare cost of inmates on to them- to the tune of close to a million bucks.

The petition accuses Sheriff John Whetsel of violating the constitutional rights of 37 inmates by refusing to pay for their medical costs. The number laid out in this petition is a big one, more than $920,000.

That's how much OU says it's owed in inmate medical costs, after Sheriff John Whetsel refused to pay in full.

Instead, the suit claims Whetsel has requested to "release" inmates on their own recognizance, or from custody before and even after transporting them to the hospital.

We showed the petition to local attorney Irven Box- who's says medical bill battles between law enforcement and hospitals play out everywhere.

OU medical claims sheriff Whetsel requested the release of an inmate in the hospital, who, according the hospital, was "incoherent" and was suffering "intracranial bleeding."

The Oklahoma County Sheriff office said, "while the petition raises a unique and somewhat confusing theory of liability, which OUMC wishes to place upon the county."

OU medical has sued Sheriff Whetsel before in 2005 and 2010. Both cases were settled with the County paying the hospital a combined $8 million.

OU Medical Center says the medical costs were from the past three years. It says the Sheriff's office has only paid them about $52,000.