CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The man who phoned in a fake Ebola scare has been ordered to pay back all the money his prank cost. James Midgette will also be monitored on the mental health docket while serving probation.
Midgette's sentencing on Monday began like many others. Midgette told the judge, "So I start to drinkin', which I shouldn'ta did."
Midgette called 911 in November 2014 claiming that he had been to South Africa and had contracted the Ebola virus.
That call triggered an emergency response to West 56th Street in Cleveland, and also at MetroHealth Medical Center, which is the designated site for Ebola cases.
Employees there suited up in protective clothing and parts of the hospital were closed down.
The entire incident cost just under $10,000.
Part of that cost includes the half-dozen firefighters who were held in the burn unit of their ambulance to prevent possible contamination.
The financial loss aside, there is a larger issue in play. Because of what Midgette did, a parent with a sick or injured child could not be seen for hours and the area's only adult Level One trauma center was closed.
Midgette has a history of drug and alcohol abuse as well as mental health issues, which he says contributed to his actions.
He wanted to be taken to the hospital to get another prescription.
"He admitted to the doctor that he had not been to South Africa and that he in fact had not been exposed to Ebola and that he had made that up," Midgette's attorney told the court.
"All kinds of stuff was going through my mind. I'm saying that was a bad mistake on my part," Midgette said.