Drama In The Trauma Ward 

It probably sounded like such a great idea at the time.

Robert Pratt, 39, of Bend, Oregon, needed his gallbladder replaced but didn't have health insurance. Pratt's girlfriend Jerri Willets, 40, of Boise, was about to get divorced from her estranged husband but for the time being still had him on her insurance plan. Let's re-create the ensuing incident through some role-playing:

SETTING: St. Alphonsus hospital, May 2005.

Him: "Jerri, my love, allow me to be frightfully honest. It seems to me that it's a monumental waste of money for you to have that expensive old insurance policy sitting around with no one to use it. My darling, light of my life, would you mind if I just borrowed it for a few days? I mean, how is anyone going to know I'm not really your hubby?"

Her: "Well, I guess so, lover. It's not like the hospital would undo the surgery if we get caught, right?"

They stroke their chins ominously.

Epilogue: Pratt had the surgery. He and Willets were caught and arrested after a joint investigation by the Idaho Department of Insurance and Blue Cross of Idaho. No repo men came looking to pull out Pratt's stitches, but Fourth District Judge Ronald Wilpur sent the patient up the river for seven years for insurance fraud and ordered him to produce $13,252.76 in restitution.

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