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Former Police Officer Indicted for VA Patient’s Rough Arrest

News  |  By Steven Porter  
   January 19, 2018

The case highlights challenges healthcare orgs face when patients become targets of law enforcement.

A former police officer was indicted and arrested this week on federal civil rights and obstruction of justice charges over his handling of a patient’s arrest outside the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Indianapolis last year.

Michael Kaim, 27, repeatedly struck the patient in the face and head last April without a legal justification to do so, causing injury, according to the indictment, which was unsealed Thursday.

Kaim then allegedly filed a false report asserting that the patient had shown aggression and refused to comply with his orders to leave the medical facility.

“In truth and in fact, as the defendant then well knew, [the patient] was following the defendant’s orders and exiting the Veterans Affairs Medical Facility when the defendant used illegal and unjustifiable force against him,” the two-count indictment states.

This case once again highlights the challenges healthcare organizations face when their patients become the targets of aggressive law enforcement tactics.

A nurse in Utah reached a $500,000 settlement after a Salt Lake City police officer forcibly removed her last summer from the hospital and placed her in handcuffs for refusing to permit the officer to draw blood from an unconscious patient under her care. The incident prompted a policy change to shield nurses from interactions with the police, and prosecutors asked the FBI to join in on the investigation.

Related: Nurse Arrest Video Puts Workplace Violence in Focus

The FBI investigated Kaim’s case, which is being prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division with help from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Indianapolis.

Kaim faces a maximum sentence of 10 years for the civil rights charge and 20 years for obstruction of justice, according to court records from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

Kaim was arrested Thursday and released on bond. He is prohibited from possessing weapons and is required to actively seek employment and to surrender his passport.

Steven Porter is an associate content manager and Strategy editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

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