Doctor denounces welfare ban in fraud
Oct. 23, 01:00 EDT
"I find it unusual and unacceptable that one of my patients should be subject to a loss of all income," Dr. Robert Clendenning told an inquest into the death of Kimberly Rogers.
Social policies ensure that every living creature under anyone's care should be sheltered and fed properly, he said. "In our country, if we have animals, we have to make sure they have food and shelter. ... That should extend to all human creatures who are members of our society."
Rogers, 40, was eight months pregnant when she was found dead on Aug. 9, 2001, while serving a six-month house arrest. She had pleaded guilty to defrauding the welfare system of $13,000 during 1996-99, at a time when she received $48,000 in student loans.
Asked by coroner David Eden if he had any suggestions for recommendations the jury might make, Clendenning said "the idea of sentencing anyone to being confined to a home and then cut them off from financial support is obviously impossible and unreasonable. That law should be looked at."
Clendenning also testified he had prescribed Rogers more medication than she would be using "in order to ensure a supply should her (drug) plan be stopped."
Rogers suffered from chronic pain, migraines, anxiety and depression.
The inquest also heard from her sister Barb who said she had seen Rogers alter prescriptions to get larger amounts of medication.
The inquest jury has heard that an autopsy found Rogers was healthy, eight months pregnant with a baby girl and identified no cause of death.
Lethal concentrations of the anti-depressant amitriptyline were found in her blood, evidence showed.