Gallatin County man records attempt to break his cousin out of hospital

FLORENCE, KY (FOX19) - Florence Police anticipate criminal charges will be filed against a Gallatin County man who tried to break his cousin out of a local hospital, and secretly recorded the whole altercation.

Ronnie Smith says his cousin asked him for help on Saturday. He says she was being held against her will at Saint Elizabeth Florence. He says he was protecting a family member.

We have that video he posted on YouTube, and the other side of the story.

This YouTube video has more than 300 views since Saturday. It was shot inside the Behavioral Health Center at Saint E Florence. The patient, whose identity we've protected, is this man's cousin.

Ronnie Smith says he went to Saint E on Saturday armed with an undercover camera to quote, "rescue his cousin," who he says was being imprisoned.

Smith says, "it's a legal hold for 72 hours because there was a report that she was suicidal. Who reported this? The ER."

Although the hospital told Smith that his cousin was suicidal when she was admitted, Smith says she's epileptic and cut herself during a seizure.

"She wouldn't show me the authority said it was the doctor he wasn't there I asked to see if there was anyone else there that had authority to hold here there was no one else there," said Smith.

However, Kentucky Commonwealth Statute says that anyone who is deemed to be a danger to themselves by a physician can be placed under a 72 hour legal hold.

Ronnie Smith, nor any of his family, wanted anything to do with the hold.

"I ask them to buzz me out they wouldn't so I open the door myself."

Smith and his family hurry to the elevators. While they're trying to get to the exit, Saint Elizabeth security is called. After that, chaos.

Smith's cousin is ultimately pulled from the elevator by hospital personnel, kicking and screaming.

Smith claims he recorded this video to expose the system. He says they were in it for the insurance money.

"Make sure everyone could see how they stop someone from hurting themselves. This was done to stop her from hurting herself...Looks like they've inflicted more damage than she should have done by herself," says Smith.

Saint Elizabeth issued us a statement this afternoon, calling Smith's claims that his cousin was kidnapped, "unfounded."

The statement goes on to say, "At St. Elizabeth Healthcare, our first priority is to care for the health and safety of our patients. At times, family members may not understand the treatment requirements of our patients, or may disagree with them...We regret that a community member posted these images on the Internet in violation of our patients privacy."

Ronnie Smith has other YouTube videos. He's running for Gallatin County Sheriff, promising to legalize marijuana.

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