Monday, August 15, 2011

Shoplifting arrest costs dying woman last chance of heart transplant


A sticky-fingered New York woman who had been freed from jail so she could get a heart transplant may have given up a second chance at life - all for some diet pills and Crest Whitestrips. Diane McCloud, 47, of Hempstead, arrived at court on Friday for a hearing in her previous case and was arrested and jailed for stealing about $500 in toiletry items from a CVS store in July.

The CVS caper came after a judge halted a previous 15-month sentence for a petit larceny charge in January so she could get on a waiting list for a transplant. It seemed like McCloud, who has end-stage heart disease, had got away with the CVS theft - until the stunning and potentially life-threatening reversal of fortune in Nassau County District Court.

Judge Francis Ricigliano, who had released her on the previous sentence, was furious she had shown him up a second time - and sent her in jail. "The heart transplant is off the table," said her lawyer, Leonard Isaacs, explaining that as an inmate, she no longer qualifies for the Medicaid that would have covered a transplant.

McCloud, who could be heard sobbing in court, travels with an I.V. drip that keeps her heart pumping. She pleaded guilty to the CVS theft and will have another six months tacked onto the remainder of her 15-month sentence, her lawyer said.

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