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Homeless woman’s arrest at hospital leads to conversations about improvements

Trapp Arrest Still.jpg
Posted at 5:57 PM, Apr 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-27 18:18:15-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — After a lawsuit was filed by a homeless woman who claims she was injured in a wrongful arrest at a Lexington hospital, conversations have been had about possible improvements.

Linda Trapp was arrested at Saint Joseph East hospital last March. She and her attorney, John Reynolds, have said that the arrest and the injuries she said she sustained during it could have been avoided.

Ginny Ramsey, the director of the Catholic Action Center, says that the body camera footage released as part of the lawsuit has led to deep discussions with hospital administrators.

“I think a lot of people are sad about it and their hearts are heavy,” Ramsey said.

Ramsey said that the incident involving Trapp illustrates a broader issue of homeless people being discharged from hospitals without any way to get where they need to go for a safe place to stay.

“I mean this is a problem in Lexington,” Ramsey said. “Now is it to the severity we saw on this tape? We don't know. We do know that people are inappropriately discharged at all the hospitals, and that's an issue across the country.”

The incident involving Trapp began when police were called to Saint Joseph East to remove Trapp from the hospital. On body camera footage, a hospital worker can be heard telling a responding officer that Trapp had tried to hit healthcare workers and wouldn’t leave the hospital.

Trapp can be heard on the video asking for a COVID test, saying that she had to have proof of a negative test to be able to return to the Catholic Action Center for the night. But Trapp was told to leave the hospital on foot without the test.

Trapp was ultimately arrested, and she and her attorney say that the arrest led to a broken leg that racked up half a million dollars in medical debt.

Ramsey said she hopes the incident leads to more training, and more transportation options for homeless people who end up being discharged from a hospital without a way to get back to shelter.

“We've got to pull together all the partners and figure ways, steps that we can make a difference in the hospital discharges,” Ramsey said.

Meanwhile, the lawsuit filed by Trapp against contractors at the hospital and the Lexington Police Department is still pending in Fayette County Circuit Court.

A Lexington police officer named in the lawsuit, Myles Foster, filed an answer in the case denying that Trapp’s injuries were caused by unlawful or unreasonable arrest. The answer also states that Trapp was given multiple warnings to leave the hospital and had clear reason to know the basis of her arrest.