This is Weird

This is a weird case, via Radley Balko:  A court issues a search warrant for a bullet, correctly stating the specific location to be searched and the reasons the bullet is needed.  No problem so far, but unfortunately, the bullet is inside someone and must be surgically removed.

In the middle of Joshua Bush's forehead, two inches above his eyes,
lies the evidence that prosecutors say could send the teenager to
prison for attempted murder: a 9 mm bullet, lodged just under the skin.

say it will prove that Bush, 17, tried to kill the owner of a used-car
lot after a robbery in July. And they have obtained a search warrant to
extract the slug.

But Bush and his lawyer are fighting the
removal, in a legal and medical oddity that raises questions about
patient privacy and how far the government can go to solve crimes
without running afoul of the constitutional protection against
unreasonable searches and seizures.

They go on to mention this problem:

Police then obtained a second search warrant and scheduled the
operation for last week at the University of Texas Medical Branch
hospital in Galveston. It was postponed again, however, after the
hospital decided not to participate for reasons it would not discuss.

Prosecutors said they continue to look for a doctor or hospital willing to remove the bullet.

Duh.  No private doctor or hospital is going to do this procedure.  Whoever removes this bullet is 100% guaranteed to get named on at least one lawsuit seconds after the procedure.  Even if they win the suit, the cost of defending themselves will outweigh anything they might get paid for the procedure.


  1. Ray G:

    Maybe they can send for that barefoot running Marine. He would just jump on the guy, and gouge it out with his ka-bar, which I'm sure he always keeps strapped to his torso.

  2. nick:

    It's a gross violation of medical ethics, for starters.

  3. Ray G:

    I would like to have seen the look on the guy's face as he tries to explain how innocently a bullet became lodged in his forehead.

    And I don't know that it would be such a gross violation of medcial ethics. If that is the case, then I seriously question the existing ethical standards for the medical profession.

    Wouldn't this be related, at least in part, to the fact that people coming into the emergency rooms with gunshots have to be reported? I understand that they are not completely the same, but where there is an obvious hint at foul play, the doctors notify the authorities.