Monday, July 2, 2012

The Defense of Ronald Eugene Weems - Part I

Approximately ten days ago, attorneys filed two important documents in the state's case against Ronald Eugene (Wikkid) Weems, currently under indictment for the murder of Amanda Taylor. The first relates to Weems' denial of Social Security disability payments in February 2011. The second document is the mental evaluation of Weems formally released on June 19th.

The document concerning Weems' request for disability contained some very interesting data; however, since much of it used medical terminology not generally familiar to the public, we've asked a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner for her opinion on the claim. Below is our interview with her:

SS: Weems claimed disability for three medical issues. The first was a heart condition that resulted in palpitations. What does that mean?

NP: Palpitation usually refers to a fast heartbeat. Some people use the term to indicate an irregular heartbeat. I've looked over Weems' application and it states he has previously had a medical procedure to correct that condition. It also indicates he was not taking medication for it. Most patients will take a beta-blocker to slow or regulate their heartbeat if that is a major problem for them. Since Mr. Weems was seeing a physician regularly, I'll assume the doctor did not think this was of serious concern.

SS: Weems also claimed that he had rheumatoid arthritis. Is this debilitating?

NP: It certainly can be. What I found odd was that the physician who compiled the medical report on Weems didn't mention testing for this condition. Tests for RA are usually extremely accurate, so if he actually had the disease, it should have been easy to document. Also, there's no mention in the report of any medication for this condition. Most physicians would have prescribed medication specifically directed at the RA, an autoimmune disease, or at least some potent anti-inflammatories.

SS: Weems further claimed a back injury. Would this be hard to prove?

NP: Mr. Weems' record did indicate having previous back surgery to fuse some discs. This type of surgery is not rare and is usually successful. I noticed the document broached the possibility of malingering. That's always going to be looked into when a patient claims joint or similar pain not backed up by medical testing.

SS: Weems stated he was bi-polar and, perhaps the most shocking revelation, claimed he had periods of "spacing out." How could this affect his case?

NP: I'm not sure if you mean his case for disability or his legal case. As far as the disability, it seems his brain scans were normal. As for his legal case, I've never been called to testify in a case like this and I would imagine both the prosecution and defense will call some really big medical guns to debate this. My take on it is that it coming well before the murder, establishing a pattern of black outs would certainly help in Weems' defense if he claims temporary insanity.

Tomorrow: Another revelation in Weems' mental evaluation...


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