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US County to Compensate Woman Wrongly Quarantined for TB

False diagnosis of tuberculosis by the Health Department and the consequent quarantine of a woman has cost the Westchester County in New York heavily. It has to cough up $75,000 dollars now.

Based on the diagnosis, county officials ordered Maureen Ryan, 64, a nursing case manager who had worked with high-risk obstetrics patients, isolated at her home last year from early January through most of February, said Deputy County Attorney Lori Alesio and Ryan's lawyer, Kevin Kitson of White Plains.

Kitson said an estimated 75 people, from Ryan's children and grandchildren to her co-workers at Hudson Health Plan in Tarrytown, were told to undergo tuberculosis tests because they had been in contact with her.

She "was under the impression she had given TB to her children, her grandchildren - she was freaking out," Kitson said. "It wasn't until quite a while that they said, 'Oh, no, we made a mistake.'"

Most of the people were given skin-prick TB tests, but, Kitson said, "Her own daughter, because she had respiratory problems, underwent anesthesia and a bronchoscopy to rule out" the disease.

Ryan had undergone a tuberculosis test after more than a year of struggling with respiratory problems, similar to bronchitis, that had not responded to antibiotics and other treatments, Kitson said.

When the positive test result came back, he said, a county health official called her at work and said, "You have to leave immediately."

Kitson said that, during the isolation period, a county Health Department representative went to Ryan's house at first seven days a week, and later five days a week, to make sure she was taking a combination of four "heavy-duty medications," including strong antibiotics that left her with a rash over her entire body. She was allowed to leave home only for medical appointments, and had to wear a mask, he said.

In addition, he said, Ryan suffered from "the apprehensio
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