Physician testifies that Smith suffered chest and facial trauma after arrest
DENVER — Two doctors testified Wednesday in the case of Robert Mark Smith vs. the town of Kremmling, expanding on Smith’s post-traumatic stress disorder and injuries sustained from his arrest in 2013.
Dr. Mark Norden, an internal medicine physician in Frisco, saw Smith as a patient after his altercation with law enforcement from the Kremmling Police Department in March 2013. Part of the complaint Smith filed with federal court was that Kremmling police used excessive force during his arrest.
Norden testified that he diagnosed Smith with chest trauma, facial trauma and dysuria — difficulty urinating — after the altercation. Smith was diagnosed with Costochondritis, inflammation of the junctions where the upper ribs join the cartilage. Norden said the affliction is painful and may cause trouble breathing.
Norden also indicated that he didn’t remember any bruising, puncture wounds or blood in Smith’s urine.
Following Norden on the stand was Dr. Chad Emrick, a clinical psychologist who evaluated Smith after the incident. Emrick has extensive experience in dealing with veterans; Smith is a veteran of the Vietnam War.
Emrick determined that Smith suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression and general anxiety disorders. He said Smith was engaging, had a sense of humor and that he spoke somberly of his time in the military.
Smith was in the military from 1968 to 1970, and spent 11 months in Vietnam. Emrick said Smith experienced several firefights, witnessed deaths and was wounded in battle when shrapnel hit him in the back in 1969.
Emrick testified that the March 5 altercation could have been a major trigger for Smith’s PTSD, and that it ultimately likely increased Smith’s vulnerability to future outbreaks. He said Smith also suffered PTSD as a result of the altercation with police, as well. Emrick noted an increase in the frequency and significance of symptoms.
Emrick said that he administered a structured interview with Smith to determine if he could be faking symptoms, but he determined the symptoms were legitimate.
Smith had been previously diagnosed with severe PTSD at the Denver VA Hospital.
Emrick recommended that Smith join a residential treatment program, followed with long-term outpatient treatment.
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