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Veterans advocate arrested at hospital - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Veterans advocate arrested at hospital

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TUCSON – A veterans advocate believes sheriff’s deputies and hospital staff prevented him from helping an 83-year-old woman.

Michael Lewis Arthur Meyer is more commonly known as Lewis Arthur on Facebook. He has built a large following as he has set up camps for homeless veterans. He said he receives calls to help a veteran in crisis on most days.

On Wednesday morning he was called to help an 83-year-old veteran woman in Phoenix. He believes she was being mistreated by her family. He picked her up and brought her to his home near Tucson.

“We had dozens of families that were going out shopping for furniture and clothing items for her,” Meyer said. “So we brought her down to a city that loves veterans, and we surrounded her with love.”

Meyer said she was getting numbness in her fingertips, so he encouraged her to go to the hospital. He followed the ambulance to Northwest Medical Center.

“She's sharp,” Meyer said, “and she knows her surroundings. And she knows her situation. So she's mentally sound. Even the doctors at the hospital that were in the room with us said that she could make her own medical decisions.”

Meyer said a daughter called the hospital and said she did not want her mother with Meyer.

“I was firm,” he said. “She has every right to keep me there. The policy permits me to be there. So I was not going to leave until she told me to, and she told me to stay.”

Hospital staff called the Pima County Sheriff’s Department. Deputies persuaded him to leave the building, according to Deputy Cody Gress.

“We then received reports via hospital security that Mr. Meyer had made comments to a passerby in the parking lot that he possibly had a weapon,” Gress wrote in an email. “This prompted the hospital to be placed on a complete lockdown.”

“I don't ever carry weapons,” Meyer said. “I never threatened the hospital, weapons or anything. That was an excuse used to put the hospital on lockdown and have me arrested.”

He was arrested for trespassing and disorderly conduct.

Meyer said he is going back to Phoenix to find the woman again.

Northwest Medical Center spokesperson Kim Chimene released the following statement:

The Pima County Sheriff's Department responded to an incident at our hospital yesterday evening. Because this is now a law enforcement matter, the Sheriff's Department remains your best source of information. Our top priority is always to protect the safety of our patients, visitors, physicians and staff.

Our staff is empowered to act in the best interest of their patients' well-being. In some cases, it may be in the patient's best interest to receive care without the presence of visitors. Staff are also trained to respond to a number of scenarios, including threats of violence, weather-related matters, facility emergencies and more. We stand behind our employees when they act in the best interests of our patients. As you know, federal privacy laws prevent from disclosing information about any patients.

It is our honor to care for veterans who have served our country, and we recognize the significant contributions they've made to our safety and freedom. We work with several well established and nationally recognized organizations to coordinate resources and assistance for those who need it.

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