An Alabama civil rights attorney recently filed three Alabama prisoner medical malpractice lawsuits on behalf of the families of three inmates who died as a result of three different incidents of alleged medical neglect in 2013. All three of the prisoners were being detained in the Madison County Jail located in Huntsville, Alabama, where they were awaiting trial.
The defendants named in the medical neglect lawsuits were the county, the jail, and the jail’s contracted medical provider, physician-owned Advanced Correctional Healthcare. The lawsuits allege that the defendants engaged in deliberate indifference to the rights of detainees in the jail by engaging in cost-cutting measures that threatened the health of the inmates.
Case Number One
A 19-year-old man was arrested on charges of shoplifting and third-degree assault in June 2013. By August 6, 2013, the prisoner was moved to the jail’s medical unit after showing signs of confusion, hallucinations, and the inability to communicate with others. No one took his vital signs between August 7 and August 19, despite the man having been tased on August 6, August 9, and August 9, 2013. On August 17, he was dragged from his cell to the shower due to an overwhelming stench emanating from his gangrenous foot. He was then left naked in a cell.
The ex-football player was noted to have not eaten between August 14 and August 19; his water was turned off on August 12.
The man received no medical attention between August 14 and the day he died — August 19, 2013. The cause of death was determined to be a blod clot associated with his gangrenous foot.
Case Number Two
A 60-year-old alcoholic woman was arrested on March 10, 2013 in her home and was charged with harassing communications. At the time she was jailed, she was unable to walk and used a wheelchair. In jail, she went through untreated alcohol withdrawal and suffered from delirium tremens that were so severe that she fractured her femur and multiple ribs when she fell from her bunk while in a medical watch cell; she also suffered seizures. She was observed to be naked and incoherent while lying on the floor of her cell on March 11, 2013; she was found to be unresponsive two hours later. She died the following day.
Case Number Three
A 30-year-old mother of three was arrested on October 14, 2013 and charged with harassment. Five days later (October 19), she began complaining of abdominal pain, rectal pain, and not being able to have a bowel movement. She sought medical treatment but none was given to her, leading her to file a medical grievance on October 25. On October 28, she requested to be seen by a prison doctor.
On October 29, she was finally seen by a doctor in the jail, who prescribed laxatives (she had not had a bowel movement in 13 days) and returned the woman to her cell.
On October 30, she complained of difficulty breathing and was sweating but the staff did nothing to address her condition, according to the lawsuit. On October 31, she was seen by a jail nurse but was again returned to her cell. She lost consciousness in her cell later that evening and was brought by wheelchair to the jail’s medical department, for observation. Less than a half hour later, she became unresponsive and an ambulance was called.
The young woman died on October 31, 2013, from complications related to a bowel obstruction that likely was the result of her extended period of constipation, according to the lawsuit.
If you or a loved one were injured due to medical neglect or the lack of appropriate medical care while incarcerated in a prison, jail, or other correctional facility in the United States, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a local medical malpractice lawyer in your state who handles prisoner/inmate medical malpractice claims and may investigate your claim and represent you, if appropriate.
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