New Mexico man settles claims against city and county over invasive body cavity searches for drugs

There’s been a development in a lawsuit filed by David Eckert, the New Mexico man who was subjected to invasive and humiliating medical procedures based on a warrant in another county. I had discussed the case in a previous post that focused on the issue for health care professionals asked to comply with police requests that conflict with patient dignity and privacy rights. Now Martha Neil of ABA Journal reports:

A city and county in New Mexico have agreed to settle for $1.6 million their portion of litigation brought by an arrestee who said he was subjected to a humiliating hospital anal exam involving three enemas, a colonoscopy and more after a traffic stop last year.

The city of Deming and Hidalgo County got a search warrant to authorize the examination of David Eckert after he was pulled over for failing to yield to a stop sign when exiting a parking lot on Jan. 2. It was based on a police dog’s alert to the alleged presence of drugs near the driver’s seat of his vehicle and a claim that Eckert appeared to be clenching his buttocks, according to the Associated Press and Forbes.

However, the warrant was valid only in Luna County, and a physician at a Deming emergency room refused to perform the examination, Eckert alleges in his suit, which was filed in federal court in New Mexico. Doctors at a second hospital, Gila Regional Medical Center, agreed to perform the exam, but the facility is located in Silver City, across the county line.

Read more on ABA Journal. I’ll continue to watch this case to see what happens with Gila Regional Medical Center and the  two doctors, as their portions of the lawsuit remain unsettled.

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