Alibi canvass – Ruthie Foreman
After the detectives talked to Ruthie Foreman, investigators went to the hospital to speak to her co-workers 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. Colson said Nurse Foreman had spoken to Dr. Smith about it, but Dr. Smith 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 admitted that she didn't like Dr. Smith, but she was sure Dr. Smith didn't mean to harm her patient. Colson said she believed Dr. Smith 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 told Colson she would be back after grabbing something to eat.
Colson said Foreman didn't usually come back after her workday but told her as she was leaving that she had a patient who 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 that night and didn't see Foreman again.
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 January 6, 2023.
Kline passed Foreman in the hallway and spoke to her but said 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. However, Myles said 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. However, Foreman felt Dr. Smith only wanted everyone to feel sorry for her when it was the patient's husband who needed the sympathy.
Myles said when she was coming in for her shift on January 6, 2023, she saw Foreman leave the hospital. When she saw Foreman re-entering the hospital around 11:30 p.m., Myles asked Foreman what she was doing back, and Foreman told her she had been at the hospital since 9:00 p.m. and had just gone out to her car to get a book.
Myles said she knew Foreman wasn't scheduled to work, and she thought it odd that Foreman was there. Foreman also told 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 Ward
Address: 19 Pleasant Drive, Oxford, MS
Ms. Ward 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.
Ward said she had met Dr. Smith and thought she was a nice lady. Dr. Smith had told Ward she was doing a good job on the ward. Dr. Smith also did Ward's 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."
Ward said she knows Ruthie Foreman and added, "God forgive me, but I don't like that woman." Ward said Foreman talks to her like Ward is her servant. When Ward was on day shift, Foreman was always complaining that Ward didn't clean this or that well enough, but Ward insisted that she takes pride in her work and doesn't skimp on the job.
Ward said she saw Foreman at the hospital around 9:30 p.m. on the night Dr. Smith died. She said she was surprised to see Foreman at that time because Foreman has usually gone home by then. Ward said she didn't see Foreman again after that, mainly because she 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 January 6, 2023. 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 again that evening.