YCSD investigators canvassed Ruthie Foreman’s coworkers to learn more about her and her activities the night Veronica Smith died. The interviews summarized are some of the most typical or relevant to the investigation and are representative of all interviews conducted.
Name: Janet Colson, CNA
Address: 118 Hillside Drive, Oxford, MS
Ms. Colson is a certified nurse’s assistant at Baptist Memorial Hospital. She works on the surgical ward assisting the nurses and plans to attend nursing school.
Colson said she didn’t care much for Dr. Smith because Dr. Smith was always barking out orders to her that she wasn’t qualified to do. She said she tried to explain to Dr. Smith that she was a nursing assistant and hadn’t been trained to do certain tasks. “Ruthie, our head nurse, had spoken to Dr. Smith about it, but she didn’t listen.”
When asked if she knew anything about the malpractice suit against Dr. Smith, Colson said, “It was all over the hospital.” Colson said Foreman told her Dr. Smith “should be prosecuted for killing that lady.” Colson added, “I admit I didn’t like Dr. Smith, but I’m sure she didn’t mean to harm her. I think she did care about her patients.”
Colson said she was working the night Dr. Smith died. She came on around 6:00 p.m. and saw Foreman leaving as she was coming in. Foreman said she would be back after grabbing something to eat.
Colson said Foreman didn’t normally come back after her workday but told her she had a patient that was near death and she wanted to be there for the family. Colson thought that was unusual, but she assumed Foreman knew the patient and the family.
Colson said she was busy and didn’t see Foreman again that night.
Name: Chastity Kline, LPN
Address: 1116 Turtle Creek Blvd, Oxford, MS
Mrs. Kline works second shift, 3:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.
Kline said she recalled seeing Foreman as Kline was clocking out for the night on May 11, 2012. Kline passed Foreman in the hallway and spoke to her but said that Foreman acted as though she didn’t see her or hear her. Kline said she thought that was odd because they are usually cordial with one another. She says Foreman seemed preoccupied or bothered about something.
Name: Joan Myles, RN
Address: 315 Eagle Pointe Dr, Oxford, MS
Ms. Myles works the 6:00 p.m. – 6:00 a.m. shift every other week at the hospital.
Myles said she has known Ruthie Foreman for several years. They have a good relationship at work but don’t associate outside work except for occasional hospital functions.
Myles said she had no problems with Dr. Smith, who could be demanding but it was for the well-being of her patients, but Dr. Smith and Foreman clashed from the moment they met. Myles said Foreman claimed Dr. Smith thought nurses were beneath her, and Dr. Smith claimed Foreman wanted to do things her way and not listen to the doctors.
When asked about the malpractice suit, Myles said Dr. Smith was devastated to have lost a patient, although Foreman felt Dr. Smith only wanted everyone to feel sorry for her, when it was “that poor woman’s husband” that needed the sympathy.
Myles said she saw Foreman leave the hospital as Myles was coming in for her shift on May 11, 2012, and saw Foreman re-entering the hospital around 11:30 p.m. Myles said she asked Foreman what she was doing back, and Foreman told her, “I’ve been here since 9:00. I just went out to the car to get this book.”
Myles said she knew Foreman wasn’t scheduled to work, and she thought it odd that Foreman was there. Foreman went on to tell Myles that she was sitting with a terminal patient who wasn’t expected to make it through the night.
Myles said Foreman stayed with the patient until the patient passed away around 2:00 a.m. At that time, Foreman told Myles she was going home.
Name: Sandra Wells
Address: 19 Pleasant Drive, Oxford, MS
Ms. Wells is a housekeeper at Baptist Memorial. Her job is to keep the surgical ward clean. She works second shift, which starts at 5:00 p.m.
Wells said she had met Dr. Smith and thought she was a nice lady. Dr. Smith had told Wells she was doing a good job on the ward. Dr. Smith also did Wells’ mother’s colonoscopy, and she had no problems.
Colson said, “It was sad about that lady dying, but I’m sure Dr. Smith did her best. People have to remember doctors aren’t perfect. I know it was painful for Dr. Smith losing a patient.”
Wells said she knows Ruthie Foreman and, “God forgive me, but I don’t like that woman.” Wells said Foreman talks to her like she’s beneath her. When Wells was on day shift, Foreman was always complaining that Wells didn’t clean this or that well enough. “I take pride in my work, and when I clean, I don’t skimp on the job.”
Wells said she saw Foreman at the hospital around 9:30 p.m. on the night Dr. Smith died. “I was surprised to see her because she’s usually gone home by then. I didn’t see her again after that, mainly because I wanted to avoid her.”
Name: Tad Young, LPN
Address: 517 Molly Barr Cove, Oxford, MS
Mr. Young said he worked from 12:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. on May 11, 2012. He said he saw Foreman in the employees’ lounge area at 5:00 p.m. while he was on his dinner break, but did not recall seeing her anymore that evening.