SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

July 2, 2013

Doctor refuses to take suspect's blood

Police say woman gave her consent

(Continued)

After a typical drunken-driving arrest, a defendant is offered a choice of a Breathalyzer test or a blood test, which he or she must pay for, at a hospital.

Despite the consent form, Dr. Marisella Marrero refused to take the blood sample.

She told Priddy that it was “against hospital policy” to take a blood sample without a court order or a warrant, he wrote in his report.

When Priddy and, later, a sergeant on duty tried to explain that they had obtained Marino’s consent for the test, Marrero told them she would have to speak to the hospital’s lawyer.

During that conversation, Priddy wrote in his report, Marrero expressed another objection: that Marino was “way too intoxicated” for her to draw blood.

Priddy wrote that no blood sample was taken as a result of the doctor’s decision.

Fleming said the hospital does have policies concerning the release of blood test results, which typically requires a court order, as well as concerning the taking of a blood sample.

However, those policies do allow doctors to take a sample when there is written consent, Fleming said.

“She was trying to do the right thing,” said Fleming, who suggested that the doctor misinterpreted the policy.

“We do try to cooperate to the greatest degree we can with law enforcement,” Fleming said.

That decision will have an effect not only on Marino’s case, however, but on the ability of the Registry of Motor Vehicles to take action on her driver’s license as a result of the arrest.

Marino has two prior drunken-driving convictions on her record, one in 1994 and one in 1998.

After prosecutors initially filed a request to hold her without bail as a danger to the public, a court-appointed lawyer negotiated an agreement under which she admitted that she poses a danger but agreed to several conditions, including an order not to drive and a requirement for random alcohol tests, along with $1,000 cash bail.

Because there is no Breathalyzer or blood test result, even though Marino agreed to submit to a test, police believe that the Registry of Motor Vehicles will be unable to take any action on her license unless she is convicted.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.

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