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Who will pay for detained man's hospital stay?

Martin Cahill racked up a $152,973 hospital bill, and it seems nobody wants to pick up the tab.

In October, the 41-year-old Cahill was arrested on charges of making false 911 calls, resisting arrest and threatening police officers and firefighters, court records showed.

The public servants were trying to put out a fire that had engulfed Cahill's car, but Cahill threatened to shoot them. He later threatened to kill himself.

The Beverly Hills man was being held at the Citrus County jail March 4, awaiting disposition of those charges, when he became seriously ill. According to a court record, Cahill was taken to Citrus Memorial Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a heart condition.

Citrus Memorial determined it wasn't equipped to treat Cahill, and so on March 6, he was transferred to Munroe Regional Medical Center in Marion County, where he stayed for a little more than three weeks.

What happened on the intervening day has given rise to a lawsuit against the county and the private company that runs the jail. The county was served with the suit earlier this week.

Munroe Regional submitted a $152,973 hospital bill to Corrections Corporation of America, the private company that operates the jail on the county's behalf. According to the hospital, CCA replied it wasn't responsible for the charges because Cahill was no longer an inmate: He was formally discharged from the jail at 5:40 p.m. March 5.

Munroe filed suit June 27 against the company and Citrus County.

Munroe Regional alleges Citrus County and CCA have a legal duty to pay for Cahill's treatment because at the time Cahill was "an indigent person being held prisoner," according to the suit.

Munroe Regional is requesting a judge to order payment of the hospital bill, plus attorney's fees.

Munroe is being represented by the Savage, Krim, Simons, Jones & Babiarz law firm of Ocala. Robert Seymour, an attorney with the firm, said Thursday night: "The lawsuit speaks for itself."

The suit will be presented as an informational item at Tuesday's County Commission meeting, County Attorney Robert Battista said Thursday.

The county has until July 22 to reply to the suit._ Archana Pyati can be reached at 860-7309 or apyatisptimes.com.

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