Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis Patient Robert Daniels Comes to National Jewish Medical and Research Center

Drug-resistant tuberculosis patient Robert Daniels arrived at National Jewish Medical and Research Center at approximately 10:20 a.m. July 17, 2007, for treatment of his disease. Mr. Daniels, who has been detained in a locked medical ward in Arizona for several months, expressed great relief and happiness to be at National Jewish.

According to tests done at National Jewish, Mr. Daniels has multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. National Jewish physicians have been informally consulting with Arizona officials on Mr. Daniels’ care. He has come to National Jewish because physicians here have great expertise treating drug-resistant tuberculosis, laboratories here conduct advanced testing not available in Arizona, and because our academic partners at the University of Colorado Hospital have expertise at performing surgery on patients with mycobacterial lung disease. National Jewish has also been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as the best respiratory hospital in the nation for ten years running.

Dr. Gwen Huitt , attending physician on the infectious disease unit at National Jewish, will evaluate Mr. Daniels and begin antibiotic treatment today. He received a hearing test shortly after arrival because the antibiotics he has been receiving can cause hearing loss. Mr. Daniels will receive an X ray, a CT scan, blood tests and a physical examination, which includes evaluations of his heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver. A sputum test will also be taken to see if he coughs up any tuberculosis organisms.  

Mr. Daniels does not pose any threat to National Jewish patients or the Denver community. He has been held in a locked medical ward in Arizona because he did not comply with doctors’ orders to wear a mask when he ventured out in public and was thus considered a public health threat who needed to be confined. He has not, however, been accused or convicted of committing any crime.

Isolation orders have been issued to the patient from Denver Public Health and the Tri-County Health Department ordering Mr. Daniels to stay at either the National Jewish Medical and Research Center or the University of Colorado Hospital during his treatment in Colorado. As part of the agreement between numerous Arizona and Colorado agencies, Mr. Daniels will have a security officer posted outside his room 24 hours a day, seven days a week while he is here. Mr. Daniels has also agreed to wear an ankle monitor during his stay. Should he leave National Jewish, police will be called, and Mr. Daniels will be promptly returned to Arizona.

Mr. Daniels arrived in an ambulance accompanied by paramedics and a security officer from Arizona. He arrived on a stretcher, but stood up briefly and was transported to his room in a wheelchair. 

Mr. Daniels’ room is the standard isolation room at National Jewish with negative air pressure to prevent the escape of any tuberculosis organisms. He has a television, bathroom and large window. Phone and visitation policies have not yet been established.

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